Januaray 12, 2011 Lebanese Prime Minister Meets Obama- Lebanon Coming Apart?

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

Januaray 12, 2011 Lebanese Prime Minister Meets Obama- Lebanon Coming Apart?

The major news of the Middle East today is happening North of Israel's border, in Lebanon.Today, Lebanon's Prime Minister had a meeting with President Obama. The meeting took place against the background of the expected UN report on the assassination of the Prime Minster's Father. The report is widely expected to implicate top Hezbollah members in the assassination. Hezbollah has been pressuring the Lebanese government to cancel the report, and it was widely expected the Lebanese would find a polite way of doing so. The US and the Europeans had other ideas and have successfully convinced the Lebanese government that it is now or never: If they give in to Hezbollah now, Lebanon has no future as a modern Middle Eastern State. So they have decided to go ahead with receiving the report. As a result, Hezbollah has withdrawn from the Lebanese government, bringing it down. Will there be new negotiations? a take over by Hezbollah? a new civil war? All are possible.

This was the statement released by the White House after President Obama met with PM Hariri:

President Obama met today with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon. The President commended the Prime Minister for his steadfast leadership and efforts to reach peace, stability, and consensus in Lebanon under difficult circumstances. The efforts by the Hizballah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government’s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people. The President and Prime Minister reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, implementing all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and continuing a wide-ranging and long-term partnership between the United States and Lebanon.

During their meeting, the President stressed the importance of the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as a means to help end the era of political assassinations with impunity in Lebanon. The President and Prime Minister specifically discussed united efforts with France, Saudi Arabia, and other key international and regional actors to maintain calm in Lebanon and ensure that the work of the Tribunal continues unimpeded by third parties. The President and Prime Minister expressed their determination to achieve both stability and justice in Lebanon during this challenging period of government volatility, and agreed that all parties should avoid threats or actions that could cause instability.

Back in Israel, a series of events have taken place in the last couple of days that I have been avoiding writing about. They include the decision of the Parliament to investigate: Leftist organizations they claim are helping to "delegitimize Israel" the destruction of the Shepard Hotel in East Jerusalem, and the continuing absurd statements made by Foreign Minister Lieberman. If someone wanted to write a scenario on how to present Israel in the worst possible light, one could not concoct a group of events as bad as these. This is, without mentioning, the spate of Palestinians killed by mistake at Israeli checkpoints. Add to this the fact that the professional workers of the Israeli Foreign Ministry have been taking part in a work slowdown, that has, at this point, stopped them from doing all but the most essential work.

I have said it before, but I will say it again. Regardless of what one's views are on how or whether Israel can reach peace, it is incumbent on the Israeli government to take actions through the prism of what effect it will have on the world and the nature of the Jewish state, instead of what effect the decision will have on the coalition.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's approval rating have sunk to the lowest level in two years, reaching 35%. On the other hand, the decision to investigate the leftist organizations is approved by over 50% of the population.

Two articles worth reading:

Netanyahu the King of Spin

Israel's right have eyes but do not see, have ears but do not hear

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