The rough month of U.S.-Israel tension
is getting even worse
. After Vice President Joe Biden's Israel trip was undermined
by Israel's surprise announcement of settlement growth, and after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admonished Israel
in a speech to AIPAC, President Obama's meeting with Prime Minister
Netanyahu was rocked by the announcement, just minutes before they met
in Washington, that Israeli officials had approved even more settlements
. The Netanyahu-Obama meeting was private and ended without comment. But things can't be going well.
- This Is Not Exactly Netanyahu's Fault Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating reminds
us that this settlement deal was actually announced last July. So,
unlike the legitimately shocking settlement announcement before Biden's
visit, this is not really a surprise.
- U.S. Shows Israel Good Faith, Gets Slapped Spencer Ackerman asks,
"What has Netanyahu done since the Biden 'insult' to demonstrate his
commitment for peace? What got him the White House visit and the
restoration of [U.S. Special Envoy] George Mitchell's travel to the
region?" He quips, "What Did The Five Fingers Say To The Global
Superpower And Patron?"
- Netanyahu Pressured Domestically The New York Times' Helene Cooper says
he is "struggling to balance diplomacy with a fractious domestic
political alliance that put him in power." She notes his faltering ties
with the U.S. over settlements, with Britain over the recent killings
in Dubai. "Mr. Netanyahu finds himself at odds with the United States
and Britain partly because of the coalition he is having to manage at
- Driven by Internal Israeli Politics The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg explains, "Mainly the problem is a system that gives disproportionate power to
small, sometimes-revanchist parties, without whom governments these
days can't be formed. I don't buy the conspiracy theory that claims
Bibi knew about the Shas announcement but let it happen during Biden's
visit; this makes absolutely no sense. Bibi, of all Israeli leaders,
knows the importance of his country's alliance with the U.S."
- The U.S.-Israel Chill Politico's Laura Rozen and Ben Smith
report of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, "The Obama administration
shifted this week from red hot anger at Benjamin Netanyahu to an icier
suspicion toward the Israeli Prime Minister, who made clear in a
marathon of meetings with U.S. officials that he would give ground only
grudgingly on their goal of stopping the continued construction of new
Israeli housing units on disputed territory."
- Obama Needs to Think Bigger Think tanker Brian Katulis tells Politico,
"President Obama has had the right end goal - a comprehensive
resolution to the conflict with a two-state solution at its core, but
he has thus far lacked a clear and effective strategy to achieve
meaningful progress toward that goal. The time has come for his team to
stop focusing on individual tactics and unveil a more comprehensive
strategy that engages not only Israelis and Palestinians, but also
countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia."
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