The international press is writing that it seems different this time, that this new American administration may be serious this time — about stopping Israeli settlement-building, expansion, and whatnot. But, that’s what sells newspapers.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and company were received at the White House in Washington on Thursday 28 May. Obama is the leader, here, talking with dominant body language.
The protocol is interesting: on the couch beside Obama are (No. 1) Special MidEast envoy George Mitchell, (2) U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (the one in the more colorful clothing), and (2) VP Joe Biden.
On the couch beside Abbas are PLO Executive Secretary Yasser Abed Rabbo (who is also now apparently in charge of media for the PA), long-time negotiator Saeb Erekat, and someone I can’t immediately identify who is writing on a notepad (very similar to the one the interpreter is using in the photo below).
A portrait of the U.S. “founding father”, George Washington, is over the no-frills mantle decorated with Republican greens (no floral arrangements, but why not herbs that can be replanted later in Michelle’s garden?). And Abraham Lincoln is prominently displayed in the upper left side of the photo. The Palestinians would probably have been happy if there were also a portrait of Martin “I-have-a-dream” Luther King, but the Israelis might have freaked out…