Israel's announcement of new settlements in East Jerusalem threw a
wrench in the works right in the middle of Vice President Biden's
visit. The Atlantic Wire has covered the immediate response
to the diplomatic slap as well as second-day speculation on Israel's motives
for announcing the plans. What do Israeli papers have to say? Here's a roundup from the English-language dailies:
- 'An Embarassing Faux Pas' Points to Larger Problem The editors of Haaretz
call Netanyahu's and Interior Minister Eli Yishai's claims of ignorance
"ridiculous," but say "the real problem ... is not the timing of the
announcement or the act of insulting a crucial ally--which are in
themselves quite serious issues." Rather, the problem is the
government's Palestinian policy in general, which includes few
"conciliatory gestures" and instead "sabotage[s] any chance of an
agreement on the issue of Jerusalem."
- Yishai Definitely Guilty--And Good for Him Gideon Levy
, also writing in Haaretz, has a different and much more cynical view.
"It was exactly the time to call a spade a spade," he writes, and
that's precisely what the announcement--which he thinks Yishai really
was aware of--did. The peace process wasn't going to go anywhere
anyway--"nothing will happen unless [America] exerts real pressure on
Israel," he says, while the Palestinians "want neither peace nor
state." He calls the event "embarrassing, but not so terrible ... The
Americans will soon forgive, the Palestinians will have no choice."
- Biden's Visit Wrong from the Get-Go In The Jerusalem Post, D. Bloomfield
makes no mention of the settlement fiasco, but is irritated by this
U.S. visit being made by Biden now instead of President Obama a year
ago. Too little, too late, he thinks.
- On the
Contrary: Biden Visit Showed Real Promise Delighted at the positive
body language at the beginning of Biden's visit, the Jerusalem Post
editorial board felt this was "everything that an embattled, nervous
Jewish nation could dream of," particularly "after almost a year of
distance" including President Obama's Islam-friendly speech in Cairo.
The settlement announcement was a "staggering example of diplomatic
obtuseness," making the Israeli government look incompetent and
damaging U.S.-Israeli trust. "Now Israel must set about rebuilding that
trust," the editors write.
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