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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Clinton links Iran to Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler reports that Hillary Clinton is at least hinting at a link between United States support for Israel on Iran and Israeli construction in 'east' Jerusalem.
In her call, Clinton appeared to link U.S. military support for Israel to the construction in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians view as the site for their future capital. "The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States' strong commitment to Israel's security," Crowley said. "She made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate, not just through words but through specific actions, that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process."

U.S. officials said Clinton made specific requests of Netanyahu to get the peace process back on track and to repair the damage to the relationship. They declined to identify the steps she demanded or to spell out possible consequences. Officials noted the length of the call -- such diplomatic conversations usually last about 10 minutes -- and said Clinton did most of the talking.

"We think the burden is on the Israelis to do something that could restore confidence in the process and to restore confidence in the relationship with the United States," said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.
Kessler also reports that the mess may be of Netanyahu's own making.
U.S. officials were especially furious about the announcement because they thought they had reached a private understanding with Netanyahu that even though East Jerusalem was not officially included in the moratorium, he would prevent any provocative actions there.
In other words, if Netanyahu had been consistent in his refusal to apply the 'settlement freeze' to Jerusalem, the US would have had no expectation that Israel would not announce new housing and nothing about which to be 'furious' other than the timing. Given that at the time Netanyahu agreed to the freeze, the US really had very little leverage over him, one has to wonder why he made that decision in the first place.


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