Relations between outgoing US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are ending in the same ill-tempered way as they began. Expectations that Obama would use the window before his departure next month to present his parameters for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the UN Security Council are probably misplaced. On Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced Israeli settlement building as a deliberate policy to obstruct peace, but said Obama had not made up his mind, which is pretty much how Obama started out. In his sonorous Cairo speech of June 2009, he called Israeli settlements illegitimate, and then capitulated when Netanyahu refused to freeze construction. In February 2011, Obama vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning resumed colonisation of occupied Palestinian land. Not only was he vetoing his own policy. His top generals had lobbied him to abstain, arguing that partisan bias made the US an outcast in ...

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