While I acknowledge Israel has had to fight tooth and nail for its very existence from Day 1, I’ve long felt the Israeli state is two-faced and arrogant, never missing an opportunity to bludgeon the unsuspecting into supporting its position, legitimate or not. Much like critizing Pres. Obama is labeled racist, many label critizing Israel or Israelis as anti-semitic. So, if we agree, everything’s fine. But, if we disagree, I’m a racist or an anti-semite.
At the very best, the Israeli announcement of building 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem during Biden’s visit was bad timing. The fact Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has failed to respond officially doesn’t help matters. A more likely version of the situation is Netanyahu and the Israelis screwed up. The US has never recognized East Jerusalem as part of Israel and now, like the Nazis before them, the Israelis want to evict Palestinians to provide housing for Israelis.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Israeli move insulting to the US and to the Vice President. She went so far as to call the announcement “a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship.” In the phone conversation with Netanyahu, she added, “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.”
Ironically, the Israeli announcement of building 1,600 housing units in east Jerusalem came just hours after US Vice President Joe Biden assured Israel of US support. “There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security,” Biden said. The Vice President was, ostensibly, on a trip to repair US-Israeli relations, even if officials claimed that was not the case.
Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer said the pressure is on Israel to do some fence-mending. US “ability to move this peace process forward carries with it an implication that we actually have some power. And when an ally basically sticks it to us, it’s a terrible sign of weakness, and in that respect, U.S. interests in the region are set back,” he said.