Out of ideas and resorting to blatant confusion tactics, America and Israel often found themselves on other worlds over the last three weeks. Again they find themselves alien to reality on Earth.
Is it patience, weakness, trickery, or is the White House truly this delusional?
Automatically cross off patience by the look of the Israeli media. Washington's list of demands expanded after new settlements were approved as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met President Obama at the White House.
These demands include: the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails, the transfer of territory to the Palestinian Authority, and “clarifications” on Israel’s construction policy in the West Bank after the 10-month settlement construction freeze expires in September.
The Haaretz reports, “The Americans want to know to what degree the prime minister intends to monitor construction in East Jerusalem and whether he is willingness to take responsibility for implementing any government decision on this matter.”
“Most importantly, however, Obama wants to know how serious Netanyahu is in moving toward a peace agreement with the Palestinians. The president wants Netanyahu to put in writing his position on future discussions on the Palestinian demand for an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines and to commit to the completion of talks within a two year time table.”
The Jerusalem Post interjects, “There were also reports, not confirmed, that the administration had asked for a commitment to extend the moratorium on housing starts in the West Bank settlements beyond the 10-months originally declared.”
The White House also wants, “peace talks with Syria, as part of an effort to promote a comprehensive regional move that would assist in neutralizing Iran and forming a broad Arab anti-Iranian coalition.”
And the Jerusalem Post claims the White House wants an answer by Saturday - less than 24 hours from now. So how does all of that work? It doesn’t.
The real first demand - that America wants an answer by Saturday - is crazy. Unconfirmed, but such haste is in line with Obama’s prior behavior. Meanwhile Israeli news is reporting that Netanyahu’s cabinet is deadlocked and will require some shaking. Multiple meetings are expected.
This confusing statement explains, “Although the efforts by US officials George Mitchell and Dennis Ross and Israeli officials Yitzhak Molcho and Ron Dermer to reach an agreement to reach an agreement failed Wednesday, state officials believe that the response will not be immediate and will not be in writing.”
So that’s that. Or has Obama already received an answer?
Of the demands themselves only talks with Syria have any real value; the rest are designed to obscure what cannot be obscured. According to one Palestinian official, “The American envoy [George Mitchell] said that the two sides failed to reach agreement on settlement construction in Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu's spokesman Nir Hefez, after returning from Washington, told Army Radio that Israel had reached a "list of understandings" with the White House. Hefez said that despite these differences Obama and Netanyahu had agreed, “The construction policy will not change, but Israel is prepared to make additional steps in order to advance peace talks.”
An official statement from Netanyahu’s office followed: "The prime minister's position is that there is no change in Israel's policy on Jerusalem that has been pursued by all governments of Israel for the last 42 years.”
Nothing has really changed in Washington either then. Tomorrow could always bring the unexpected, but for now America remains as weak on Israel as ever and, as usual, is trying to convince us otherwise. How all this situation is possible remains to be seen since one US congressman who spoke to Netanyahu said his meeting with Obama “was awful.”
But the White House’s irrationality goes even deeper. In spite of continuation of settlement construction in East Jerusalem and Palestinian pessimism, Obama is reportedly, “hoping to gain approval from the Arab League for a second time.”
You know, the Arab League that said last time was the last time. Right now it’s busy raising money to counter “Judaisation of Jerusalem”
Do Obama and company actually believe they did enough to regain the confidence of Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims - and disenchanted Americans for that matter? What else are we supposed to believe when US and Israeli officials claim progress while everyone else sees peace in free fall?