Though today’s high profile visit between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set up primarily as a photo op, there was much attention turned to the possibility that President Obama would use the opportunity to press Israel on continuing its West Bank settlement freeze, in the face of growing calls from Likud MPs to lift the ban.
Yet the US president was careful to avoid anything that looked like a demand on any front, instead praising Netanyahu for his “commitment to peace” and pledging support for Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal in the face of international calls to establish a nuclear-free Middle East, a position which, paradoxically, the administration also claims to support.
Instead the demands were coming from the Israeli side, as Netanyahu pressed for additional sanctions against Iran‘s civilian nuclear program, saying more sanctions were vital to Israel’s security.
The demands, of course, come less than a week after President Obama signed into law the latest round of US sanctions against Iran, sanctions so random and far-reaching that BP claimed it was forbidden from refueling civilian aircraft in Germany because the planes were heading to Iran.
The US Congress is, of course, constantly working on additional sanctions against Iran, and there are some new sanctions attached as an addendum to the upcoming war funding bill. These sanctions are considered minor, however it remains to be seen what other sorts of sanctions they can possibly impose at this point.