Netanyahu was to meet Obama a month ago, but he curtailed his North American visit to return to Israel to deal with the crisis created by Israel commandeering the Gaza aid flotilla on May 31.
Expect little of substance from the meeting on the peace-seeking front, notwithstanding claims by Bibi-enablers that the Israeli leader "wants to be a peacemaker". Netanyahu will try to gain credit for adjustments to the punitive blockade of Gaza, adjustments necessitated by the resounding condemnation that Israel confronts for its collective punishment of Gaza. Key elements of the blockade continue, including prohibiting Gazan exports.
George Mitchell's laconic efforts to move Israel-PA proximity negotiations along have borne little fruit. This is no surprise. Netanyahu has no interest in a viable two-solution. He never has had such an interest. Recall that in his earlier tenure as Prime Minister, he played much the same game with Bill Clinton that is playing with Obama today: prevaricate then negotiate over petty concessions while demanding recompense and approval from the U.S.
As I have noted here, he may be opportunistic and crass, but Netanyahu operates within an ideological vector that has no room for an independent Palestinian state, particularly one premised on the end of Israel's colonization of the West Bank.
As the expression goes: the fruit does not fall very far from the tree. Here is a discussion with Netanyahu's father. Benzion Netanyahu, now 100 years old, was secretary to Ze'ev Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism. As you read his words, ponder the discussions around the Netanyahu kitchen table of Bibi's youth.
And here is the Prime Minister as a young man, in 1977. He was then known as Ben Nitay. He is questioned by a young Fouad Ajami.
Netanyahu's National Security Adviser is a former Mossad man named Uzi Arad, who was previously barred from entering the US as a security risk. Azad is a hardliner whose views are in synch with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Azad's bottom line on negotiations with the Palestinians? Concessions by Israel encourage Palestinian rejectionists. For Azad, Israel's strategic priority is confronting Iran. Meantime, you kick the two-state can down the road, placating the Americans without making serious concessions or ceasing the dispossession of Palestinians from their land. Do you think that Netanyahu chose a National Security Adviser who contradicts his own views?
What to expect from the July 6 meeting? Very little that will lend even a modicum of vitality to Mitchell's mission and lots of talk about the need to confront Iran.