The All-Wet Noodles
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 8:21 AM
Two items in the NY Times today about the Biden-Bibi blowup have confirmed my suspicions that there is something decidedly phony about the entire affair. What exactly do Biden, Hillary and Obama want, when do they want it, and what are they upset about? Their policy has not been one of condemning new construction projects for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem. At least, it has never been enunciated, insofar as I am aware. If that is their policy, let them say so at the upcoming AIPAC powwow in Washington this weekend. Do they regard East Jerusalem as occupied territory and the settlements authorized there by Tel Aviv to be illegal? I very much doubt it. They will not say. Heretofore, they have let things slide, following the example of Bush Jr., Dick Cheney, and Bill Clinton. The Ethan Bronner article reminds us that:
The current disagreement echoes one last year. The Obama administration demanded a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank, while the Israelis said it was impossible and was a betrayal of earlier agreements between Washington and Jerusalem. Ultimately, the Americans accepted a partial, 10-month moratorium on settlement building that excluded East Jerusalem.
The Mark Landler article drives home the same point:
Taking a tough line with Israel helps the administration counter a perception that it folded last summer when Mr. Netanyahu rebuffed Mr. Obama’s demand that Israel freeze all construction of Jewish settlements. When Mr. Netanyahu countered with an offer of a 10-month partial freeze on the construction on the West Bank, Mrs. Clinton praised the offer as “unprecedented.”
Well, Obama did fold, and Hillary continued to pander in the aftermath. Simply put, occupied East Jerusalem has always been off the table, detached from the West Bank. Biden, Hillary and Obama tacitly acknowledged that reality, as have previous U.S. Administrations. Obama and Hillary have thrown in the towel. They know full well, as does Senator George Mitchell, that Tel Aviv annexed East Jerusalem by a vote in the Knesset a long time ago, and that Likud is not going to relinquish any of it. If Bibi tried, he would probably meet the fate of Yitzhak Rabin.
Bibi’s ever-slick foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is quoted by Bronner, "They are demanding that Jews not be allowed to build in East Jerusalem. We cannot bar Jews from building in a certain section of the city. Can you imagine if they told Jews in New York they could not build or buy in Queens?" Get the picture? With Avigdor we have reached the apotheosis of gangsterism and confidence trickery. Washington has no one to blame but itself. Jerusalem is a done deal, not up for discussion.
So what is this brouhaha all about? Is it the simple fact that Jewish authorities in Jerusalem--engaged in what for them was business as usual--made an announcement to expand the footprint of Jews in the Arab section of the city while the Vice President was in town? It is. This blew Biden's cover and revealed him to be a wet noodle, just like Obama and Hillary. It is the unmasking due to the timing which has upset Washington. In the background, you have all those exasperated and alarmed American critics who favor a "two-state solution" and who urged the Obama White House to stand up to Bibi. So Biden and Hillary get together and put on a show to salve their wounded egos and stand up. This looks like theater, not substance.
Yesterday I revised and expanded The Charade Continues, in Spades to include: “The current fracas is a tempest in a teapot, to coin a phrase, a sham manufactured by the White House, a show of phony outrage mostly for the benefit of the Arabs and the bemused Europeans.” The basic problem is that the U.S. has no Middle East policy of its own. Thanks to the Israel Lobby, the White House is loath to spell out a rational and just policy or any policy. All it has is a tactic. The tactic is to shove the two unequal parties into a room, and see what happens. Even this, it cannot do. Likud and its American Lobby remain in the driver’s seat. Stay tuned.
Update Link: “Both Sides Claim Success...” Ethan Bronner, NY Times 3/20/2010