“Even U.S. PresidentBarack Obama cannot perform miracles in the Middle East,” Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told outgoing U.S. ambassador JamesCunningham Monday night.
“There are no shortcuts in the Middle East,” Rivlin explained to the envoy, who is finishing his three-year term of service in Israel. “The Americans think that if we surrender everything, there will be peace. This is a mistake. The Palestinian Authority is not mature enough to make responsible decisions.”
The Speaker told Cunningham that Israelis “feel the atmosphere in theWhite House hasworsened, and the feeling is that President Obamafeels Israel is more of a burden than a strategic asset.”
Rivlin added that Israelis were disappointed that thepresident skipped over Israel during his visit to Cairo two years ago, when he delivered his “reaching out to Muslims” speech.
Cunningham replied that the feeling is unjustified and thatPresident Obama will visit Israel. However, he did not indicate a date or even whether the trip
will happen this year.
President Obama is certain to visit Israel before the 2012 election, when he will be campaigning for a second term in office. Cunningham is being replaced by Daniel Shapiro.
In his parting remarks to Cunningham, Rivlin also stated that he “would not want to depend on the Americans in the face of a dangerous situation” of an armed Palestinian Authority. He said Israeli leaders across the political spectrum oppose allowing the Palestinian Authority to have an army and added, “PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refrained from terror but is not prepared to say out loud that the interest of the Palestinian Authority Arab is to live in peace alongside Israel with only one army [the IDF] between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan."
Abbas has rejected forming a country without an army although it already has a large security service, which officially is called a “police force” to circumvent the Oslo Accords that prohibit its being militarized. The “police officers” have been trained by American generals.