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Netanyahu Swimming Upstream After Iran's Diplomatic Flurry

US President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Abu Mazen and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's told the UN: Israel must compromise on Palestine, while Iran compromises on its nuclear program.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem September 15, 2013. Kerry briefed Netanyahu on Sunday on a U.S.-Russian deal to remove Syria's chemical weapons, an accord that drew a guarded response from the Israeli leader.   REUTERS/Larry Downing (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX13M58
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The most important speech delivered so far at the current session of the UN General Assembly in New York was the one by US President Barack Obama on Sept. 24. Obama’s tone was measured and levelheaded, and he did not get dragged into wrangling over credits and arguing about “who won” in the battle over Syria — Russian President Vladimir Putin or himself. But the speech also contained dramatic news: the return of the formula — which emerged and made headlines during Obama’s first term but dissipated shortly thereafter — Bushehr for [Jewish settlement] Yitzhar.” That is how we described it then, on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first meeting with Obama at the beginning of 2009. The deal was simple. It was dictated by the Americans: We will deal with Iran, you take care of the Palestinians. The United States will rein in the Iranian nuke, Israel will stop building settlements and work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Obama’s policy failed dismally and disappeared. The peace process was stalled for four long years and dropped off the agenda. And now Obama is back, with a speech designed to define his second and last term, with the same equation: There are two subjects on the agenda, the Iranian and the Palestinian; the United States will deal with both in tandem, and it expects all sides to cooperate, including Israel.

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