U.S. President Barack Obama one week ago, led a large delegation of American legislators and diplomats to attend the funeral of the late Shimon Peres.
The funeral, two days before the start of Rosh Hashanah, brought traffic in Jerusalem to a standstill Friday morning as high-ranking representatives of some 70 nations made their way to Mount Herzl where Peres was interred in an area reserved for Israel’s greatest leaders.
Obama, the last to give a speech at the funeral, used the opportunity to promote the illusive two-state solution advanced by Peres, as the only way to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The president packaged his remarks in endearing phrases about the Jewish people and their legitimate ties to the land of Israel. It was reminiscent of his first visit to Israel at the start of his second term.
That visit convinced some Israelis that Obama really cared about them and their historical right to their biblical homeland. Photographers captured his friendly demeanor with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who responded in kind.
But the days, months and years that followed brought a succession of awkward meetings between them, providing plenty of material for the media.
The State Department’s latest rebuke of Israel’s announcement for new housing for the Samarian community of Shiloh, an important city in biblical and Jewish history, had a familiar ring to it.
“We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, warning the decision was sure to “distance Israel from many of its partners.”
The pro-Palestinian Peace Now movement followed suit, accusing the Netanyahu government of creating “obstacles for peace.”