Apparently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proved to be the apex of America and Israel’s public feud. President Barack Obama was already part of the decline, an afterthought himself after he turned the Palestinians into one.
Pressures in both capitals, inside and outside the government, could no longer stand the special relationship’s image battered in the international media. This, we were told, wasn’t a true representation of their friendship.
Everything is fine, despite Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unofficially rejecting a settlement freeze. Now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has formally rejected any change to the 1,600 units that have caused so much trouble and pseudo trouble.
The White House had been waiting for a response since Tuesday, but according to the Haaretz, “Netanyahu is expected, according to the Washington Post report, to tell the Obama administration that he cannot revoke the Ramat Shlomo expansion plan both for legal reasons and as a result of wide public support in continued building in Jerusalem.”
Instead Netanyahu will offer, "assurances that the new neighborhood will not be constructed anytime soon; it is, in fact, two or three years from groundbreaking. Coupled to that would be an Israeli pledge to avoid publicizing further construction decisions in Jerusalem.”
“The result would not be a freeze, but something like a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy for settlements.”
Netanyahu also wants "mutual confidence building measures" from the Palestinians (as if they announced the settlements), which US officials eagerly support.
Thus America and Israel remain on the same script despite their recent bumps and bruises; they really have no choice except to stick together. Breaking apart now would expose them to all kinds of ridicule and weaknesses. They have to stick it out as long as possible even if closing their eyes will smash them into the Palestinian wall.
"The goal of both sides at this point is to put this behind us, “ US ambassador Michael Oren was quoted as saying, “and go forward with the proximity talks as quickly as possible."
As he was echoed by Obama, so too was Oren’s sentiment was confusingly mimicked by Vice President Joe Biden. In an ABC interview to air Friday night, Biden described Israel’s settlement announcement as a deliberate provocation meant to undermine the peace process.
His solution to Israel’s cavalier unilateralism?
“The message is: We've got to get over this. Granted, I condemn the announcement made by that planning council... The irony is even that planning council acknowledging not a single new unit can be built at least for a year and maybe never will be built, it was provocative."
And like Obama, he too struck down General David Petraeus’s conclusion that US-Israeli policy is endangering US troops in the Middle East.
"No, I never said that," Biden told ABC.
Looks like no one will be saying anything for a while if Israel gets its way again. One can only hope the Palestinians and Arab states don’t fall for this cheap illusion.