Bibi in America: A View from Israel
During his recent trip to the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave no guarantees that the settlement freeze would be extended in September.
According to Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, "the prime minister won't announce publicly on the resumption of construction." This seems to be the only agreement. So building is OK, so long as we (Israel) keep quiet about it.
Obama seems to have decided to go easy on Netanyahu because of upcoming November mid-term elections in the U.S. This will allow him to fend off Republicans who have accused him of being too tough on Jerusalem. With the oil spill disaster, this is one less accusation and he could do with it.
And by getting along with Obama, Netanyahu can avoid a big, messy fight with his coalition partners over extending the settlement freeze.
But this will only be temporary.
The Palestinians are unlikely to agree to talks while building continues in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Knowing Israeli politics, sooner or later, some hot shot politician is going to open his big mouth by announcing that construction has indeed restarted.
Netanyahu has to hope for a poor Obama performance in November, because a secure Obama won't be so nice after the elections.
It was, overall, a successful trip for Netanyahu. He got a good deal from Obama over the Palestinian question.
The two sides were relatively quiet however about Iran, as Obama's new sanctions against Tehran are very much in line with most of Israel's demands.