The Campaign Spot

Foggy Bottom Is Madder About These Settlements Than the Neda Shooting

This morning’s Jolt has more on health care — because we know that story is never going away – but another big story is heating up:

We’re Playing Hardball with the Wrong Middle Eastern Country Starting With ‘I.’

Haaretz: “Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has told the country’s diplomats there that U.S.-Israeli relations face their worst crisis in 35 years.” Apparently, we’ve given the Israelis a bunch of demands.

Hey, I have a tough time believing the Israelis just happened to announce a bunch of new settlements the moment the Vice President stepped away from the luggage carousel. But it’s not like their diplomatic high-inside fastball wasn’t predictable when our government started crowding the plate with an official stance that the Palestinians would be normal, happy, well-adjusted pacifists if it weren’t for a couple of new condo projects. We’ve got beleaguered descendents of Holocaust survivors who have been hearing “we will push you to the sea” for 50 years on one side, and on the other, a culture that adopted making mentally challenged children wear suicide belts their national pastime. Yet every  president – okay, not all of them, just the Democratic ones – seem to think that sending enough retired senators and special envoys over there will garner them a treaty ceremony on the White House lawn and a couple [more] Nobels. Why is everyone reacting as if this diplomatic train wreck wasn’t predictable? Obama and Netanyahu don’t see eye-to-eye on almost anything; that’ll strain the strongest alliance.

Why are we supposed to be the honest brokers in one of the world’s most intractable and long running disputes, anyhow? What have the Palestinians ever done for us?

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Jen Rubin: “If they’re honest, those who vouched for Obama’s superior temperament and his pro-Israel bona fides must be embarrassed. For those of us who suspected that this president lacked a fundamental attachment to Israel, critical national-security experience, and a full appreciation for why we don’t have ‘peace’ in the Middle East (it’s not housing sites, especially ones clearly within the Jewish state in any future two-state deal), there’s little comfort in saying, ‘We told you so.’”

The conclusion of a lengthy, thought-provoking post from Bruce McQuain, at QandO: “Much like the people of the US, Arab leaders are not going to be impressed by only talk – something the administration is long on.  It is going to demand action – something which puts the administration in a very awkward position given what they’re now demanding vs. what Israel may be willing to do.  And even if Israel capitulates, it will simply mean more demands – all to the detriment of our strongest ally in the region. A very interesting situation brought on by perceived weakness and a diplomatic style akin to a pit bull at a cat show. It will be interesting to monitor the situation and see what comes of it, but, as one Israeli envoy noted, US/Israel relations are at their lowest ebb in 35 years. And I doubt this has substantially increased our image among the Arabs.”

These days we’re no better friend to our enemies and no tougher foe to our allies.

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