Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Obama bashes Israel to please Arabs

Washington Post

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S Middle East diplomacy failed in his first year in part because he chose to engage in an unnecessary and unwinnable public confrontation with Israel over Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Over the past six months Mr. Obama's envoys gingerly retreated from that fight and worked to build better relations with the government of Binyamin Netanyahu. Last week the administration finally managed to strike a deal for the launching of indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks. So it has been startling -- and a little puzzling -- to see Mr. Obama deliberately plunge into another public brawl with the Jewish state.

True, this U.S.-Israel crisis began with a provocation from Jerusalem: the announcement by the Interior Ministry of plans for 1,600 more Jewish homes beyond Israel's 1967 border. Vice President Biden, who was visiting when the news broke, was embarrassed; he quickly responded with a statement of condemnation. He then appeared to accept the public apology of Mr. Netanyahu, who said he, too, had been surprised by the announcement.[...]

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