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President Obama’s March 2013 visit to the Middle East, including Israel, could signal a significant policy-change from his June 2009 visit, which excluded Israel. On the other hand, the introduction of the John Kerry (State Department) – Chuck Hagel (Pentagon) – John Brennan (CIA) team of “Palestine Firsters”may suggest that the March visit could merely be a tactical-change in pursuit of the same policy.
The 2009 visit was driven byan assumption that a newly-elected charismatic US President could turnaround the US economy and reform US healthcare, while simultaneously implementing UN-like multilateralism, lowering the US unilateral profile, transforming the world from confrontation to engagement, mollifying the Muslim World, coax Iran into abandoning its megalomaniac aspirations and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The 2009 visit reflected a worldview focusing on the Palestinian issue as the, supposed, core cause of Middle East turbulence, the crown jewel of Islamic policy-making, an essential link in forging an anti-Iran Arab coalition and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel was perceived as a secondary ally, at best, and a burden, at worst. (Read more…)
“The study was initiated in 2009 by the Jerusalem-based Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, which includes the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Minister of Religious Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, the Greek, Armenian and Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem and the Anglican and Lutheran Bishops of the Holy Land, among others. The Council monitors and condemns defamatory statements attacking any religion and desecration of holy sites. In that context, the Council asked Professor Wexler to design, seek funding for and manage a study of school books used in Israel and Palestine. “