Jeffrey Goldberg sums up what Obama's visit is really about, and Barry Rubin explains the real picture
Jeffrey Goldberg, a highly influential American journalist with close ties to President Barack Obama, told Haaretz he believes Obama will use his visit this week to prepare Israeli public opinion for a renewed challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy toward the Palestinians.Which would throughly contradict any visit he makes to Theodore Herzl's grave as a way of acknowledging that Zionism is a just cause, as Goldberg says he'll do further down in the interview. No, if he demands a building freeze, then he's not favorable to Herzl's vision, which included Judea/Samaria/Gaza just as much as Jerusalem and Haifa.
"In his own way he will do his best to tell you: I love you. I get what you are and I admire what you've done. Obama will thereby create the space that will enable him to combat Israeli policy that seems wrong to him and in his estimation jeopardizes Israel's future and also hurts the United States," Goldberg said. "The Obama of the first term did not come to Israel and demanded a settlement freeze. The Obama of the second term is coming to Israel so he could be in the position to demand a settlement freeze in the future."
Barry Rubin has a much better view of the situation than an epic failure like Goldberg:
...If today Israel were to make a huge new concession, six months from now it would be forgotten in the West, which would also forget that there was no considerable Arab response.And we need look no further than the "Arab spring" to see how all that's turned out.
Israelis know this, and so saying this kind of thing about Israel needing to prove its decent intentions can only fall with a cynical thud. Such statements remind Israelis why they are not rushing to make new concessions or take new risks.
Note too that Western and European promises to give Israel a big reward if Israel takes a big risk or makes a big concession to which the Arab side doesn’t respond have also been repeatedly broken.
What Obama is in effect saying: “Mr. Netanyahu, tear down that [security, counterterrorism] wall.”
What he should be saying: “Mr. Abbas, Mursi, etc., tear down that wall of hatred against Israel!”
Of course, he won’t do so because that would make the Arab leaders and publics angry — not because they want Israel to move faster on peace or to seek a better deal, but because they don’t want peace at all. And the Islamists coming into power have no intention of tearing down the wall. In fact, they are building it higher than ever.