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Monday, March 15, 2010

Obama Adding Fuel To The Al-Aqsa Fire

Israel made a mistake in announcing an East Jerusalem building permit at the same time Joe Biden was visiting.

The building permit really is a non-issue since everyone knows the Ramat Shlomo section of Jerusalem never is going to be given to the Palestinians, but the optics looked bad, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has apologized.

That should and could have been the end of it. But consistent with Obama's policy of beating up close allies, Obama is not letting the issue rest.

Obama has found his excuse to bring Israel to its knees, both on the peace process and the coming Iranian crisis.

Obama loaded up his foreign policy establishment with people who view Israel as the problem, and who look to taking Israel down a few notches as the key to our foreign policy. The foreign policy establishment has many sympathizers among the anti-"Israel lobby" crowd.

I agree with this HuffPo blogger to the extent that this Israeli diplomatic error is the excuse Obama has been waiting for:
Like a chess player patiently waiting for his opponent to make the first mistake, the U.S. administration has pounced on the opportunity to vent its anger with Israel. The public humiliation of Vice President Joe Biden during his visit in Israel was, apparently, the last straw.
But Obama is playing with regional fire by demanding as reparations for the diplomatic mistake that Israel, among other things, release hundreds of Palestinians arrested on securities charges, give territorial concessions which affect security, and ease the Gaza blockade which would allow Iran easier access to arms shipments.

Here is what the U.S. reportedly is demanding the Israelis do to end the diplomatic crisis with the U.S.:
Make a substantial gesture toward the Palestinians enabling the renewal of peace talks. The Americans suggested that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners be released, that the Israel Defense Forces withdraw from additional areas of the West Bank and transfer them to Palestinian control, that the siege of the Gaza Strip be eased and further roadblocks in the West Bank be removed.
Obama's desire to bring Israel down may spark another intifada, as Palestinians (both Hamas and the PA) are emboldened to consummate their plans to spark a crisis over false allegations that Israel plans to destoy the Al-Aqsa mosque:

Even though it was Israel who sparked the most recent crisis over Jerusalem, it is not the only player adding fuel to the fire. The behavior of the Obama administration - with senior officials trying to outdo each other in public reprimands of Israel - is reminiscent of the intentionally tough stance taken on the Netanyahu government a year ago. Nor are the Palestinians missing the opportunity to fan the flames.

True, the prime minister played into their hands on the matter of proposed construction in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, and Jerusalem's mayor is still at it, but the Palestinian Authority is playing a very dangerous game - perhaps the most dangerous of it all - over Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount.

Mohammed Dahlan, who is not known for his religious fervor, Khatem Abdel Kader, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio in Fatah, and others called Sunday on Israeli Arabs and residents of East Jerusalem to go to the Temple Mount today to "protect it from the Jews." A pamphlet Sunday issued a similar call; it was signed by the National and Islamic Forces, an organization that coordinated activities during the second intifada and in practice does not exist today

Obama and the bring-Israel-to-its-knees crowd risk taking a dangerous situation, and putting a spark to the powder keg.

Related Posts:
"Heads They Win, Tails We Lose" Diplomacy
Little Nice To Say About The U.S.
He Who Cannot Stop Talking, Is Silent On Iran

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  1. The key to all of this will be to discover who released the settlement information and why.

    The what has clearly followed.

    I agree, Obama has looked for an excuse to shift to a more neutral if Muslim-leaning middle east stance.

    WORSE, he is being undiplomatic in his handling of the matter. You don't make demands like he is allegedly making outside of a convened conference. Negotiations carried out in the press. You do not talk indirectly to an ally - even one with which you are having difficulty - like this.

    EVEN WORSE - other nations will not be able to trust this loose canon no
    Why was it not generally disseminated in the US that the proposed settlements were not in territory that would have ever been conceded to the Palestinians?

  2. Israel should simply ignore Obama and instead propose a series of US-Israel talks on the issue. They may even send him a nice gift - a set of DVDs with the speeches of the founders of Israel.

    Obama hates Israel, so really it matters little what Israel does - it will always be the guylty party. So, why care?

  3. Hyphenated - that is a wonderful observation!

    I think that the AIPAC is correct. You can't carry out diplomacy in the Press and the US needs to stop this. This is not diplomacy. This is international relations by Obama Fiat. It is a lesson both to friends and enemies.

    I have created a Status Report on the situation through afternoon today at my website. Thanks for this post and for a reference in it, Professor Jacobs. This is a key moment in our history that Obama cannot handle.

  4. Sorry, I wrote Professor Jacobs rather than Jacobson - I AM old and should not be out in public on the blogs I guess!

  5. Why do you people assume that all Israel wants is security? It's quite clear that they want to colonize much of the West Bank, even if this means evicting the Palestinians who already live there and forcing them into enclosed ghettos. As far as I'm concerned Israel's claims of "self-defense" are bullshit as long as they continue to expel Arabs from portions of the West Bank for more heavily subsidized settlements. And that's not to mention the theft of water from West Bank aquifers.

  6. The West Bank was Israeli territory until the gave it up for "peace". They have been attacked without provocation from all sides since their inception. They continue to be attacked by those who said, "Give us land and we won't attack you". Yeah...I think self-defense is their right.

  7. Good to know that you believe suicide bombings at restaurants and market places are justified, AJB. I mean really, if you think about it it's the civilians' fault for being born in the wrong country anyways, amirite?

    /sarc off

  8. I have spent a lot of time today going back over Obama's developing policies toward Israel and the Palestinians. His UN speech in September 2009 is enlightening. He was already railing at Israel about settlements.

    So at the end of this day, I am back to where I was at the start of it: The key is who was responsible for the leak about the settlement expansion? It was well-know what the Obama position was. Who ever did it was either not very bright, made a terrible mistake or is out to wreak havoc in the Middle East's prospects for peace.

  9. Obama's sudden decision to support a freeze on building in Jerusalem has triggered rioting all over the country, with Hamas declaring a "Day of rage" over the restoration of a synagogue in the Jewish quarter.

    Obama may have triggered a "third intifada"