US-Israeli spat over Iran nuclear deal threatens to sideline Palestinian issue

In recent months, many in the Middle East had assumed — some in hope, others with concern — that once the Iranian nuclear issue was resolved, the United States would make another push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But the opposite seems more likely.


After a drawn-out confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iranian nuclear deal, the White House seems to have little appetite for what would almost certainly be a new round of tensions with the Israeli leader over the terms of Palestinian statehood. With the odds of success slim and U.S. elections approaching, President Barack Obama seems more interested in repairing his tattered relationship with Israel, leaving the Palestinian issue to his successor.


In recent comments, Obama has spoken of boosting security cooperation and providing upgraded military hardware to make up for Israeli misgivings over the nuclear deal. Speaking to the Jewish newspaper The Forward last week, he likened his differences with Israel to a disagreement inside a family and predicted relations would survive the test. “I think it is important for everybody to just take a breath for a moment and recognize that people on both sides of the debate love the United States and also love Israel,” Obama said. He made no mention of the Palestinian issue.


A U.S. State Department official told The Associated Press that the U.S. is not planning any bold new diplomatic initiatives after the Iran deal makes its way through Congress. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


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