After that big buildup, the “fear mongers” were wrong. President Obama and Prime Minister met for over two hours today and the promised fisticuffs never happened. The meeting ended up just about as predicted a few days ago.

In an article written for the American Thinker I concluded:

Look for more reports of a schism but understand that it is all political fodder. Look for minor concessions by Bibi on the Palestinian issue and by the US on Iran. This is not to say that these “frenemies” will not eventually become real enemies, but not now. For now, they need each other and this is just a political dance.

For example, President Obama stressed the importance of preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon, he said that he wasn’t going to put a deadline the talks with Iran, then said the talks needed to see progress by the end of the year.

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“My expectation would be that if we begin discussions soon, shortly after the Iranian elections, we should have a fairly good sense by the end of the year as to whether they are moving in the right direction,” Obama said.

Obama reiterated his call for a two state solution and that the Palestinians need to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. He also called for an end to the settlements, Just as every president since Jimmy Carter has. Netanyahu repeated his calls for the resumption of talks with the PA, and said that Israel does not want to rule over the Palestinians

“We don’t want to govern the Palestinians, we want to live peacefully, we want them to govern themselves absent a handful of powers that could endanger the state of Israel. And to this end there is a clear goal, the goal has to be an end to conflict,

Netanyahu also said the that “the terminology would take care of itself,” he talked about two peoples living side-by-side in peace, never mentioning, hover, a Palestinian state. But it was the most anyone was going to get out of Bibi right now.

The bottom line is that what you saw today was the first steps in a long process, both parties recognize they need each other right now. That may change in the future, will be back later with reports from Israel.

More below:

Netanyahu says Palestinians must accept Israel; Obama sees Iran breakthrough

Washington » Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he is ready to resume peace talks with the Palestinians immediately, but any agreement is contingent on their acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Netanyahu and President Barack Obama met for more than two hours at the White House and focused on Mideast peace talks, Iran’s nuclear program and the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Obama said he expects a positive response from his diplomatic outreach to Iran on stopping its nuclear program by the end of the year.

The president said the United States wanted to bring Iran into the world community, but declared “we’re not going to have talks forever.”

At the same time, Obama said bluntly that it was important that Netanyahu, a hard-liner on peace negotiations with the Palestinians, get back to the negotiating table.

‘Historic opportunity’

While his language was gentle, Obama’s words were notable nonetheless for being made in public.

“We have seen progress stalled on this front, and I suggested to the prime minister that he has a historic opportunity to get a serious movement on this issue during his tenure,” Obama said. “That means that all the parties involved have to take seriously obligations that they have previously agreed to.”

Added Obama: “I think that there is no reason why we should not seize this
opportunity and this moment.”

Earlier the Israeli prime minister had signaled he may resist the president’s pressure to support Palestinian statehood as the two leaders tried on Monday to tackle an array of Mideast issues.

A senior aide to Netanyahu, national security adviser Uzi Arad, suggested the Israeli leader might not yield to pressure from Obama for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. He also seemed to hint that Israel might consider military action against Iran when he said there was a “sense of urgency” in Israel over the Iranian nuclear threat.

Such rhetoric suggests diplomatic high stakes as the two men held their first White House meeting against a backdrop of disagreement over several key issues: U.S. overtures to once-shunned Iran and Syria and pressure on Israel to support a Palestinian state.

A waste of time?

The Obama administration is trying to promote dialogue with Iran and Syria, Israel’s arch foes. Israel fears such efforts could lead to greater tolerance for Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Prior to Netanyahu’s trip, confidant Zalman Shoval, a former ambassador to the United States, said the Israeli leader would ask the Americans to give Iran a deadline of “a very few months” to comply with international demands to halt its enrichment of uranium — a process that can be used to build nuclear bombs.

“If by then we have not reached an agreement with you, all other options are still on the table,” Shoval added in a clear allusion to a military strike.

Before his Feb. 10 election, Netanyahu derided the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which stalled late last year, as a waste of time.

Jewish settlement activity is another source of potential conflict with the United States.

In Israel on Monday, settlers announced that government officials have begun taking bids to build infrastructure for a fledgling Jewish community deep in the West Bank. The timing of the announcement could cause friction at the Obama-Netanyahu meeting.

Palestinians want Obama to tell the Israelis that they have obligations under an existing U.S.-backed peace plan to accept the two-state solution and stop settlement construction, said Saeb Erekat, a top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and longtime negotiator.

While not opposing the Obama administration’s efforts to promote dialogue with Iran and Syria, Israel is skeptical. Like Washington, it dismisses Tehran’s claims that its nuclear program is peaceful and fears the U.S. outreach could lead to greater tolerance for Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Israelis are also worried by the recent diplomatic shuttles to Syria for fear they reward Damascus even as it maintains close ties to Tehran and harbors Iranian proxies that have warred with Israel, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Gaza’s Hamas.

Still, there have been mixed signals from the Israelis on the Mideast peace process ahead of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting.

Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, said Sunday in Jordan that Netanyahu would abide by agreements signed by his predecessors, including the U.S.-backed Mideast peace plan calling for a two-state solution to the conflict with Palestinians. Peres said progress depended on an end to attacks by Hamas militants and greater Palestinian efforts to ensure Israel’s security.

Netanyahu has tried to persuade the Americans that Iran, with its nuclear ambitions and anti-Israel proxies in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, must be reined in before peacemaking with the Palestinians can progress. Israel’s security services see the Netanyahu-Obama meeting as crucial in this regard, and the military chief of staff, the head of military intelligence and the Mossad chief all held lengthy meetings with the prime minister ahead of the trip, defense officials said.

The meetings focused on what Israel sees as Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons and on the effect that would have in strengthening Iran’s allies in Hamas and Hezbollah and undermining the stability of Western-allied Arab countries.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings were not made public.