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UNITED NATIONS: Israel's absence during Obama speech draws attention

President Obama's call Thursday in an address before the U.N. General Assembly for Israel to extend its West Bank construction moratorium got little reaction from the Israeli delegation. That's because they weren't there.

As Obama spoke about the importance of supporting U.S.-brokered peace talks, television cameras panned to empty chairs at Israel's U.N. desk.

Speculation immediately spread across Internet sites and among arm-chair analysts about whether Israel was snubbing Obama and boycotting his speech. Israel has been resisting mounting international pressure to extend the partial moratorium, which is set to expire Sunday. Palestinians have threatened to quit peace talks if construction resumes, though they've also hinted in recent days that they are open to a compromise.

Israeli officials have denied their absence was an intentional slight, saying they were observing the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and had informed the U.S. in advance that they would not be present.

Nevertheless, American officials expressed some disappointment that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to skip the U.N. meeting, sending other Israeli leaders to represent the country. Obama had hoped to use the forum to continue efforts to prevent peace talks from collapsing.

And some of Netanyahu's right-wing colleagues condemned Obama's speech, accusing the U.S. president of "inappropriate interference."

-- Edmund Sanders in Jerusalem

Comments () | Archives (18)

I like to see Israel sells her armaments to third countries without US permission! Lol, Amen!

Funny how few nations whom are dependant on US handout justifying it as it's good for the provider, this year arm sale for only one nation for tune of 60 billions cash will cover Israel freebee from our pocket for 20 years, and 3 billions a year can whip out a budget deficit for few states of our Union, so much for logic!

Israel will not be foolish enough to sell the armament that the U.S provides to a third party because those weapons will be used on them!
Outside of the U.S, Israel is isolated. EU is critical of its treatment of the Palestinians. If you want to tell us story, why you tell us a cowboy and indian!

I am a widely-published author on the Middle East. My new book,, made its debut in academia in Washington, DC last October at the Association of Scholars of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) Conference.It covers in great depth all of the issues involved in the current negotiations.

Please refer to the above url to see my response to the topic covered by this LA Times article. This version of this new editorial appears in a major Kurdish media outlet.

The assessment in the above url provides a frank understanding of what the stakes indeed are here and provides a perspective virtually ignored elsewhere.

If you were going to the UN in Christmas then you'll have some case to argue against the Jews for "ignoring" Obama’s speech. They didn't ignore and they were adjusting the matter with Obama himself.
To those who preach to stop the US military aid to Israel I say go on folks. If you want more 20,000 unemployed workers then do it. If you want to halt the ability of the US to be a just and even mediator, then go on, If you want to lower the US capitalizing the Arab oil black-gold, then go on and shut down your special link of the US to the only democracy in the ME or shut up!
Anyway, Israelis can build much of their military means by themselves and be independent. Israel can sell freely much of her developments and inventions to China, Russia, India and the 3rd world against the US national interests.

Why do you thing that Americans are dumbs? Don't you trust the left wing Obama to know this by himself?

I am a Jew … I am disturbed that Israel didn’t not want to hear what was on the mind of the President of the United States. The following explains my position and concern.

I believe the President realizes the profound truth, that the position of the United States as a Mediator Nation is a position of great responsibility. Failure is not an option for the President and the United States. The President realizes that the consequences of failure, could lead to a Middle East nuclear disaster and the Region destroyed. The disastrous affect on the World stage as a whole and the Middle East in particular will be...
1. Population Disaster.
2. Economic Disaster.
3. Environmental Disaster.
4. Diplomatic Disaster.
5. Political Disaster.
6. Religious Disaster.
I believe the true road to peace in the Middle East may involve the belief in the threat of the above by the leaders in the Middle East and that they finally see a disastrous end to Civilization in the Middle East. Much is at stake.
I believe the President and his Middle East advisors including the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, want a total solution in the Middle East … a solution which includes …the security of the region, resolution to the Iran Nuclear threat, political independence of members in the region, the economical stability in the region, along with solutions to any other topical concerns of the members in the region.
I believe the President and his Middle East advisors including the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would like the major countries involved … from outside the Middle East … to be, at the very least, those major countries involved in the post World War II solution, regarding the establishment of Israel … The other countries would obviously be all those interested Middle East countries … along with other stakeholder countries around the world …
I believe the President knows the threat of or use of … Containment, Sanctions, War … are all adversarial position … YES … AND PERHAPS VERY NECESSARY.


And some of Netanyahu's right-wing colleagues condemned Obama's speech, accusing the U.S. president of "inappropriate interference."
Hmm. Does he mean inappropriate interference in Israel's internal affairs? If so, someone needs to remind him that the "belligerent occupation" (the term used by the Israeli High Court) of other people's land is by definition not Israel's internal affair. I do know what is an internal affair, however: the policy by the US to grant billions of dollars of foreign aid to Israel. If the US were to consider cutting that off, the Israelis would undoubtedly interfere in US internal affairs through their various lobbying arms such as AIPAC.

Who cares if the Israel's delegates were present or not!
Obama delivered the speech. So Israel better go along with the program.
And those cretins in Netanyahu's right wing, let them eat cake! The nerve of some people.

Obama chose this Jewish Holy Day date for his speech specifically so Israel would be absent giving the Arab leadership a slight cover to indicate that despite his somewhat evenhanded approach, Israel 'object' to the position, that it was a shift to the Arab position by the USA and the proof is that Bibi snubbed Obama by not appearing. I'd like to see a report in the LA times reviewing how the Arab language papers interpreted the speech and Bibi's absence.

As to cutting off money suggested by other comments; the Palestinians got $1.8billion in 2008 and $ 1.2billion in 2009 and they ate it all - used for necessities of life because they are a bunch of UNRWA welfare queens. The Israelis worked hard to bring themselves up from the same level of squalor that most Arabs live in today. Their defense is our defense, because if you let them, the ben Ladens of the world will drag us down rather than allow us to enjoy our standard of living unmolested.

Surely Israeli police and medics don't have a day off, why not a few diplomats in such televised event in UN! No other group of people have so many holidays, no wonder they're the largest recipient of US aids since being lazy seems to be paying off!

There are more seriouse problems than you can imagine, when the US deport US born children, because of their foreign parents just like the Israeli are doing today, deporting children born in Israel from foreign parents. The US blind support to Israel is a real mistake to the future, because when you support the Zionist... is just like supporting the Nazi. This didn't happen in the past, but is happening today, US policy must change before it is to late. Lebanese government can't deport Palestinian criminals back to Palestine, because the Zionist wont let them to do so. So Anti-Lebanese policy is all over the place and building more troubles for the peace process in the region, Especially when Israel continue to use Hezbollah as a tool to vaccum more money and weapon from American Jews and US including its continues occupation to Lebanese land and air space daily violation, This the real threat to the future of peace and US economy when blindly walk into trap.

The November elections are not promising for the Democrats lead by ""OBAMA THE CHANGE?

Mr Clinton pls be the additional value!
Demand to CHANGE;
- The leading by impressive TV imaging
-Charismatic speeches, not backed by facts
!!! Covering the emptiness of" OBAMA THE CHANGE!!!

Mr Clinton pls considers being the "CHANGE "democrat voice demanding to stop the whole selling of moral and values.
*By the Islamic ambassador in USA," OBAMA THE CHANGE"?
*offering Islamist more legitimacy worldwide without receive any mutuality from the Muslims?

Mr Clinton- Demand to deal with the main issues:
Which lead to worldwide terror.
USA is the big satin. End of democracy. Denying human rights. Main terror supporter.
Don't permit the world to be threatened by terrorists protected by Iran NUKS.
*Avoid repeating the root cause of many conflicts due artificial borders.
Remember: Belgian Flames. Basques.Scoots, Irish,balkans,kashmir, cyprus, kurds, russia,africa.
Demand that the solution will lead to:
Israel will hand over to Palestinian government land inhabited by Arabs from Israel and Jews from settlements will be governed by Israel.
Both Arabs and Jew will remain in their current homes - nobody will have to move physically.

Mr Clinton- can you "CHANGE; the emptiness of president : "OBAMA THE CHANGE"?

may-be you should get your facts straight and correct before you try to be an intelligent american or intelligent any-thing.

Yes, let's be honest. The fact that it was indeed Sukkot, and that Israel did indeed tell those involved in advance that they won't make the speech, makes this entire article moot.

But, then, we need a forum for folks like Richard who will automatically bash Israel for something they clearly do not know enough about and yet portray themselves as clear and objective thinkers.

Israel's absence during Obama speech draws attention
Why? It's Sukkot..

Now onto real news like what is happening in Darfur or Thailand...

peace with Jewish Community is very imortant for USA. That why american president must speaking more good with Israel

Someone needs to straighten Israel out on a few things. I'd pull the plug on their aid package.

Every settlement is illegal, even the United States recognizes this.

Be honest - Israel isn't interested in peace, they are interested in expansion. Of course the peace talks will fail, they always do, because Israel knows it can beat the Arab population into a temporary submission anytime they want to, just like they have for the last 40 years. The next 10 aren't going to be any different. Israel is now so insane that ANY CRITICISM toward them, they just automatically assume is anti-Semitism and invalid.

There's absolutely no possibility that Israel is going to ever stop building until they own all the West bank. Gaza they don't care about, and never did - they tried to pawn that off on Egypt years ago and Egypt didn't want to absorb a million refugees, go figure.

These peace talks are a total sham, and a waste of time. Nothing will come out of it.

If the US wanted to secure a peace there, it's pretty simple - just stop selling Israel weapons, and stop sending Israel 3 billion dollars a year so they can buy weapons from the United States.

Israel is under no pressure, and this just a wink and nod again. Israel isn't snubbing Obama, this is just another show about the US supposedly being a fair negotiator for peace, which they are not.

Nothing will come of these peace talks - maybe some empty words, some promises that will inevitably broken, and that's it. I'm sick and tired of this charade. What intelligent American isn't?


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