Saturday, March 13, 2010

Diplomacy by personal feelings

'US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sharply rebuked Israel over its recent decision to build new settlements in East Jerusalem.

She told Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone that the move was "deeply negative" for US-Israeli relations.'

So, the first thing the Obama administration did in its 'quest for peace' in the middle east was to force a settlement freeze on Israel. A direct consequence of that was that a large block of swing voters in Israel moved in favour of ignoring American threats, and continuing the very long-standing process of re-Judiasing Israel via settlements. Who wants to knuckle under to some heavy-handed bully?

So, instantly, the course of peace in the middle east was dealt a decades-long blow. Israelis resented American threats and coercion, and determined to resist them; and the Arab positions regarding Israel immediately hardened up. Fantastic.

As a direct result of this behaviour, Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a mighty 'fuck you' to America during the visit of vice-president Biden. In what is possibly a unique event in Israeli-American relations, Netanyahu announced a new settlement building program during a visit by a high-ranking American politician. Amazing. That is as close as you get in diplomacy to actually bitch-slapping another country in the face.

All that Hillary Clintons shrill and emotional response will do is reinforce in Israeli minds that their take on the Obama administration is the right one- the latter are no friends of Israel. They might on occasion pay lip-service to Israels right to exist and the usual formulations, but at heart, they just don't like Israel. Their starting point is the same starting point of Palestinian supporters the world over- it is really all Israels fault.

So for the next three years I expect the relationship between the the Israeli government and the American administration to be thinly-veiled hostility. Even while more and more American citizens support Israel.

Well, I think it is pretty certain that the next president of the United States will be a conservative Republican, so it's only three years until normal service is resumed...

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