Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And in case the Obama administration hasn’t alienated Israel Enough…

By Barry Rubin

If you think the Obama administration has done more than enough to alienate Israel and Israelis, well, as my grandparent's cantor's son put it in the first all-talking moving picture: "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told a press briefing, June 21, that when the United States demands a complete freeze on construction within “settlements” this includes any parts of Jerusalem even a foot (or meter if you wish) over the pre-1967 ceasefire line.

Israel’s government and public have already overwhelmingly rejected the idea of freezing construction while:

--getting absolutely nothing in exchange,

--including a U.S. government refusal to pressure the Palestinians to keep their own commitments

--and a rejection of previous U.S. commitments Israel thought it had received in exchange for previous concessions.

It didn’t help any that the U.S. position was presented as an imperial decree with all the charm and sensitivity in dealing with an ally used in the diplomacy of Darth Vader. But this new clarification really tears it.

Again, it should be stressed that so far this is all talk and no material pressure has been applied.

But it is as if the administration really wants to destroy any possibility of a compromise or cooperation on this matter.

Quick, someone hand me a wheelbarrow, bricks, and mortar.

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