Yedioth Achronoth, the largest circulation daily in Israel, reports today that President Obama intends to see the two-state solution signed, sealed and delivered during his first term.
Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; "In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister."
He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place."Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory," the paper reports Emanuel as saying. In other words, US sympathy for Israel's position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel's willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
Yedioth also reports that Obama is conveying his displeasure with the new Israeli government in several ways. "US administration officials informed Netanyahu that President Obama will not be able to meet with him in early May, while the AIPAC conference is held in Washington. The meeting between the new Israeli premier and the president of the United States is perceived in Israel as a sign that the formation process of the new government has been completed and as a salutation by Israel's close friend. Netanyahu had hoped to capitalize on the opportunity and to meet with Obama during the annual AIPAC conference, but the Americans informed the Israelis that Obama was not going to be 'in town.' That being the case, the inclination among Netanyahu's aides is to cancel his trip to attend the AIPAC conference and to try to secure a date for a meeting with Obama later in May.
"Sources in Washington also said that the Obama administration would not continue the tradition that developed during the Bush administration of hosting Israeli premiers many times during the year, sometimes with just a phone call's advance notice."
The latter are minor changes to be sure, but even minor changes are big changes when it comes to American-Israel relations.