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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WaPo blasts Obama's handling of Israel

After calling President Obama's behavior toward Israel 'startling' and 'puzzling,' the Washington Post looks at some of the potential consequences of President Obama deliberately escalating his dispute with Israel.
American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric, and elevated demands, from Palestinian and other Arab leaders. Rather than join peace talks, Palestinians will now wait to see what unilateral Israeli steps Washington forces. Mr. Netanyahu already has made a couple of concessions in the past year, including declaring a partial moratorium on settlements. But on the question of Jerusalem, he is likely to dig in his heels -- as would any other Israeli government. If the White House insists on a reversal of the settlement decision, or allows Palestinians to do so, it might land in the same corner from which it just extricated itself.

A larger question concerns Mr. Obama's quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government. He is not the first president to do so; in fact, he is not even the first to be hard on Mr. Netanyahu. But tough tactics don't always work: Last year Israelis rallied behind Mr. Netanyahu, while Mr. Obama's poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits. The president is perceived by many Israelis as making unprecedented demands on their government while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders. If this episode reinforces that image, Mr. Obama will accomplish the opposite of what he intends.
I don't think people in Washington appreciate the fact that if Netanyahu digs in his heels over Jerusalem, he will have wall-to-wall support from Jewish Israelis. No Jewish Israeli party can afford to be seen as having conceded Jerusalem.


At 2:30 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

That is one issue on which no Israeli Prime Minister can afford to give ground: Israel's sovereignty over its entire capital is non-negotiable and Israel should tell the US to stay out of its domestic affairs. No self-respecting country on earth would respond to a demarche telling it not to build in its own capital. On that, Israel should stand firm.

At 2:53 AM, Blogger Thermblog said...

Update: http://tinyurl.com/ydybb5y

Denials about what both Biden and Oren said. Seems the media are as overheated as the Obamanauts. (See update at the bottom re Oren.)


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