The exercise in futility that passes for the relationship between the United States and Israel was played out last week when Vice President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu both got sandbagged by Israeli politics.
For decades since Israel was founded in 1948, various administrations starting with Jimmy Carter have been haranguing Israel every time it had the nerve to actually build new housing for its growing population.
One can only imagine the reaction if the situation was reversed and Netanyahu issued a demand that a housing development near the border of Mexico be stopped because it was being built on land the U.S. secured militarily.
I am sorry if Biden felt embarrassed when some element of Netanyahu’s coalition announced the building of 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem, because I am reminded weekly that Biden is perfectly capable of embarrassing himself without any help.
Suffice it to say, given the way Netanyahu’s cabinet of ministers is held together by duck tape, it did not surprise me that one of them would wander off the reservation.
If you really want to see something embarrassing, just listen to the mindless blather of Speaker Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Reid. According to Madame Pelosi, never mind that 75% of Americans hate Obamacare, it just has to be passed so everyone, including most of the members of Congress, can find out what’s in it.
The disputed land that the Palestinians, otherwise known as the losers, keep claiming was lost as the result of several wars perpetrated against Israel. Even when the Israelis pulled their own people out of Gaza and returned it to Fatah (who later were chased out by Hamas), the Palestinians continued to fire rockets every day into Israel.
With neighbors like the Palestinians, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and the utterly crazed ayatollahs of Iran, a few homes in East Jerusalem is small potatoes against the bigger threat of being annihilated by a nuclear-tipped missile.
Even so, Debka, an Israeli news service, said, “The fallout from the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s 48 hours in Israel undid a year of effort by the Netanyahu government to build a foreign policy and an understanding with Washington as the bedrock of a coordinated proactive policy on Iran.”
Given the pathetic foreign policy efforts by President Obama and his administration regarding Iran; essentially getting their face slapped every time they sent a signal seeking a reduction in hostilities, a wish to negotiate issues, or just to get U.S. hostages returned, one would think that a bit of friendship building with Israel would be a good idea.
The really bad news out of the Biden trip is that “the Obama administration is considering withholding from Israel military items urgently needed in case of a flare-up of hostilities with Iran.” Requests for these items had been made by defense minister Ehud Barak as recently as February when he visited Washington and met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
I’m willing to bet that the Saudis would love to see the Israelis get whatever they need and probably even offer to pay the bill if it meant the Israelis would do what no one else in the region has the guts to do; attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and other military targets.
The U.S. posture toward Iran has been a disaster, sending signals of weakness and consisting of muttered statements that it does not want Iran to acquire a nuclear capability. Obama’s eagerness to pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan is hardly a secret.
The constant “settlement” demands on Israel are, at this point, tiresome. As President Obama likes to remind his political opponents, “I won”, and the same principle applies to Israel’s right to provide housing for its people, sufficient defense against the proxy forces that Iran has arrayed against it, and the ability to render Iran’s threat a heaping pile of rubble.
© Alan Caruba, 2010
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