Approximately 75 percent of U.S. Congress members are prepared to sign a letter calling for an end to public criticism of Israel by the Obama administration and to "reinforce its ties with the country," according to the British Guardian.
An open letter states, “Our view is that such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence." The wording was suggested by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby, which is asking Congress members to help improve relations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The one-year-old American government has in effect discarded the Roadmap plan, which already had been detoured by then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, by mediating indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and gaining concessions from the Netanyahu government without parallel steps by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
However, its demands concerning Jerusalem apparently have crossed the red line for Diaspora Jews as well as for many liberal leaders in Israel, causing a rift among the president’s advisers.
The White House on Tuesday tried to smooth over relations, with spokesman Robert Gibbs saying he was ”puzzled" by reports that President Obama snubbed Prime Minister Netanyahu by not holding a press conference or providing an opportunity for a public photograph. “I’m puzzled by the notion that somehow it’s a bad deal to get two hours with the president almost entirely alone,” he told reporters. “That doesn’t seem like a lot of punishment to me.”
He also denied a rumor in the media that the United States was prepared to refrain from vetoing a possible United Nations resolution against Israel’s building for Jews in areas of Jerusalem that were restored to the Jewish State in 1967 but are not recognized by United States as being under Israeli sovereignty. Approximately 300,000 Jews live in the neighborhoods, which include Ramot, French Hill and Gilo.
If the report was a trial balloon, the response appears to have let all the air out as Cabinet ministers line up behind Prime Minister Netanyahu to refuse to agree to a temporary building freeze.
Most of President Obama’s advisers have taken a pro-Palestinian Authority stand, backing its claims to sovereignty over part of the city. Foreign media have reported that President Obama’s public stand against Israel, beginning with his speech in Cairo last June that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are “illegitimate,” has placed him out on a limb.
“The administration's credibility is at stake,”one source reportedly said.