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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inept and insulting

President Obama continues his bull-in-the-china-shop campaign against Binyamin Netanyahu, treating Netanyahu more like a gang leader than like the elected Prime Minister of a country that is America's number one ally.

Jackson deal reviews Obama's inept and insulting treatment of Netanyahu, and paints a picture of a President acting as a spoiled child who is angry over not getting his way and not as someone who has a goal and a strategy to get there. Diehl depicts Obama's explanations for his behavior as follows:
The White House’s explanations for Obama’s behavior keep shifting. At first spokesmen insisted that the president had to respond to the “insult” of the settlement announcement during a visit to Jerusalem by Vice President Biden -- even though the administration knew that, far from being a calculated snub, the decision by a local council had taken Netanyahu himself by surprise.

Next the administration argued that the scrap was a needed wake-up call for Netanyahu’s right-wing government, which, it was said, had been put on notice that its failure to move toward a settlement with Palestinians was endangering U.S. interests in the region. But -- assuming for the moment that the administration’s premise is correct -- Obama chose to challenge Netanyahu on a point that is not material to the creation of a Palestinian state. As the Israeli leader has pointed out, previous U.S. administrations and the Palestinians themselves have already accepted that Jewish neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem will be annexed to Israel in exchange for territory elsewhere.
In the meantime, street posters like the one below have gone up all over Jerusalem. I'll translate it for you after the fold.

Of course, we're talking about the poster on the right, which depicts an Arab Sheikh placing a medal (or is it a key) around Obama's neck. The sign at the top says "Danger. PLO agent in the White House."

When the day comes that Obama needs to have the confidence of Israelis that he'll do the right thing - whether for a peace agreement with the 'Palestinians' or for Israel to hold off on Iran and let the US handle it - that confidence is not and will not be there. Israelis may have regarded Obama with suspicion two or three years ago. We now regard him with utter contempt.


At 2:00 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Whatever Netanyahu's faults are, he's tried to always behave responsibly and decently and come to an understanding with the US. Obama has acted like a child and has sought to break relations with Israel over an issue that would never make or break the peace process. And it called into question the reliability of America's word to Israel. Let's recall that last fall, America accepted a freeze deal with Israel that explicitly excluded Jerusalem. The Ramat Shlomo announcement should not have come as a surprise to the Administration because Israel never gave an undertaking to stop building in its capital. Which holds true also for the Shepherd Hotel announcement on Wednesday.

Israel is not going to compromise over Jerusalem. And its high time the US got used to the fact that as much as Israel values its friendship with America, it is prepared to forgo it rather than forsake its ancient, deep and enduring bond with its capital. This time the relationship was stressed but survived because Israelis like America despite Obama.

That's why Netanyahu went to Washington and not to do the President a favor for a fight which the latter instigated because he thought he could bully Israel into doing something it couldn't give.

There are no real winners in this sorry, inept and insulting excuse of a diplomatic spectacle from a President who picked a fight on an issue on which Netanyahu could never give ground.


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