Israel has been bad. Very bad. At least, according to the US. Hillary Clinton called Benjamin Netanyahu the other day and remonstrated with him as if he were a seven-year old who didn’t put his toys away for the fiftieth time. The presenting complaint:
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley described the nearly 45-minute phone conversation in unusually undiplomatic terms, signaling that the close allies are facing their deepest crisis in two decades after the embarrassment suffered by Vice President Biden this week when Israel announced during his visit that it plans to build 1,600 housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem.
Clinton called Netanyahu “to make clear the United States considered the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president’s trip,” Crowley said. Clinton, he said, emphasized that “this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests.”
I have used the shrink’s term “presenting complaint” quite deliberately because I suspect something rather different is going on here. Leaving aside the Israeli political infighting revolving around the announcement of the building plans coming behind the Prime Minister’s back, what really is manifesting itself here may be just another display of the Obama administration increasing weakness and confusion. They have no foreign policy achievements whatsoever with little on the horizon. They don’t even seem to have a plan. They wanted to make a show at least of trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
The emphasis is on the “show” and the “trying” for obvious reasons. Nothing in the current situation augured for this to be anything more than a charade. Israel is totally concerned with Iran, as it should be, and nothing about the Palestinians has ever shown that they really want an independent state, alongside an Israeli one anyway. If they did, they would have had that state decades ago.
So this is about the Obama Administration appearing to do something more than it is about reality. And then blaming somebody else. Nothing new about that. It’s their modus vivendi. All hat and no cattle, as the saying goes.
UPDATE: Abe Foxman also thinks something’s wrong.
MORE: It gets worse. Those great “friends” of the Jews the Europeans are thinking of putting trade sanctions on Iran, er, scratch that, Israel:
The European Union might use its trade ties with Israel as leverage to pressure it into renewing peace talks with the Palestinians, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the EU said on Saturday.
Ashton was speaking at an EU foreign minister conference held in Spain. Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, said that Israel’s announcement on building in east Jerusalem during United States Vice President Joe Biden’s visit last week was intentional and not coincidental.