They’re setting up Israel to take the fall for the collapse of proximity talks, which were themselves a pre-Olso-style “we’ll take the Jews’ land but we won’t talk to them” slap. Mitchell is being held in the US until Netanyahu makes even more concessions for the Palestinians to pocket. And now we’ve reached a point where the US Secretary of State is gleefully chortling about the fiasco:
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the Obama administration’s decision to ramp up pressure on Israel over construction of Jewish homes in east Jerusalem was bringing results. In an interview with BBC television, Clinton was asked whether escalating the tone with Israel had paid off. She said: “I think we’re going to see the resumption of the negotiation track and that means that it is paying off because that’s our goal.”… It was now the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s duty to overcome opposition within his coalition government and ensure that the stalled negotiations moved forward, Clinton told the BBC.
Anyone still think this wasn’t a premeditated shot across the bow, held back until now because the WH didn’t have an ostensibly anti-Netanyahu wedge issue to use as a pretext? Keep in mind this was the equivalent of the Russians showing up for START talks and then triggering an international incident over some mid-level paper shuffling at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Obama’s condescending explanation of his one-sided hostility was incoherent to the point of mockery. Biden got back to the US and started doing stand up routines about the US’s double standards on construction. And now Clinton’s gloating about the administration’s broadside on the BBC, an outlet not overly loved in Jerusalem. Very diplomatic!
For what it’s worth, Jennifer Rubin’s running the argument that the dust up was tied to Iran: something like “if we’re willing to detonate the US-Israel alliance over something this trivial, just think what will happen if you preempt.” That’s not my camp. I’m with Jeffrey Goldberg in the “regime change” camp.
Besides the warnings regarding Iran are being telegraphed via the well-coordinated reports of linkage between Israeli settlements and jihadi motivation. Both the Petraeus and the Biden statements have now been debunked of course. But the message undoubtedly got through: “defend your interests and anti-Israel partisans will scapegoat you for the deaths of American boys and girls.” Charming.
References and related after the jump…
* Obama cancells envoy’s visit to Israel [National Post]
* Clinton: Decision to escalate row with Israel ‘is paying off’
* Foreign Policy Expert Marc Lynch: Obama Should Blackmail Israel With The Goldstone Report [MR]
* Obama Alienates The Israeli Left: “He Has Spoken About Us But Not To Us” [MR]
* How Obama created the Biden incident [Krauthammer / WaPo]
* Obama: What’s All This About Me One-Sidedly Attacking Israel? [MR]
* Biden, in D.C.: It’s great to be where construction boom is a good thing [Ha'aretz]
* ContinuallHow Obama created the Biden incidenty Condemning
* What Obama is Actually Trying to Do in Israel [Goldberg / Atlantic]
* Confirmed: US-Israeli Alliance Plummets Into “Historic Crisis,” Obama Triggers Worst Relations Since Carter [MR]
* A Lie: David Petraeus, Anti-Israel [Boot / Commentary Contentions]
* Did Joe Biden Say What People Think He Said? [Goldberg / Atlantic]