Obama faces special challenge in dealing with Israel's ambitions

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Washington, June 5 (ANI): Experts and observers of Middle East politics and the scenario emerging will pose a special challenge for US President Barack Obama on the foreign policy front.

Till now, Obama has emphasized the importance of international rules and organizations, while successive Israeli governments have clashed with this and often ignored it. fter Israel's military operation on a humanitarian aid ship this week, Obama may just have to do a rethink on the way forward in the Middle East, while keeping in mind the fact that Israel has a unique set of security threats and national ambitions that are inconsistent with Obama's broader agenda.

According to experts, Obama is finding it hard to speak unequivocally in support of Israel during difficult times.

Israeli officials "look at the world quite differently from the way from this president does, and they are not willing to just fall in line because he is the president," the Washington Post quotes Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, as saying.

"Israel and the United States are seeing the threat environment in the region-and the ways to deal with the threat environment-in increasingly different ways. And for the United States that means Israel is a problem, as an ally heading in a very different direction," he adds.

So far, Obama has little tangible to show for his Middle East policy; the raid threatens to undercut what progress he has made.

His attempt to turn "proximity talks" between Israelis and Palestinians into direct negotiations has been complicated by the Gaza operation. So has his bid for new sanctions against Iran at the United Nations.

"The key to understanding this president is to know that he is about change-it wasn't just a slogan," said Michael B. Oren, Israel's ambassador to Washington.

"This is a changing relationship, but change doesn't necessarily mean friction," he adds. (ANI)

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