Comments President Barack Obama made in Turkey yesterday, reiterating President George W. Bush’s call for an independent Palestinian state, has placed his administration on a collision course with Israel’s new government.

His comments stand in stark contrast with those made by Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who has taken a firm stand against further Israeli withdrawals or concessions.

“It is astonishing to see every time anew how the U.S. president on-duty learns by means of trial and error how to conduct himself in the Middle East,” said Dr. Mordechai Keidar, senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center in Bar Ilan University. “Obama still thinks that the Palestinians want a European-style democratic state and hasn’t learned that Hamas envisions a state that is more reminiscent of Iran than it is of Jordan.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal envoy to the Palestinians, Yizhak Molcho, has participated in consultations the new prime minister has been holding to reassess Israel’s stance in the peace process. These meetings come as Mr. Netanyahu further develops his policies toward the Palestinians.

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He will likely visit Washington during the first week of May when he is supposed to present Mr. Obama with a consolidated plan addressing how his government will handle relations with the Palestinians, but that has not been firmly set.

The Prime Minister’s Bureau is evaluating whether or not to accept an American invitation to visit that week, which could afford Mr. Netanyahu with an opportunity to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference. It also is considering postponing having the prime minister meet Mr. Obama, so he can better prepare himself.

Mr. Netanyahu has also received an invitation from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to meet him in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for a conference. The prime minister has thanked him and said a firm date would be set in the next few days.

The Prime Minister’s Bureau said that the two leaders stressed the ties of friendship between their two countries and promised to continue them and even to strengthen them.

“Peace between the two countries (Egypt and Israel) is of supreme importance, and the sides have a common interest in intensifying the peace and broadening it to repel the threats against it,” Mr. Netanyahu said last night.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.