Israel fears US shift in peace policy

Abraham Rabinovich; 30/3/10; (2 Items)

Israeli officials fear that the US government, in a radical shift of policy, is planning to impose a permanent peace settlement on Israel and the Palestinians within the next two years. The public snub of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the White House last week is seen in Jerusalem as a shot across the bow as President Barack Obama’s administration gears up for a head-on confrontation with Israel over the long-stalled peace process. The Haaretz newspaper reported yesterday that Mr Obama and his aides made 10 demands of Israel during Mr Netanyahu’s visit that reveal Washington’s intention to move off the sidelines and become an active player. Several of the demands focus on neutralising the free hand Israel has permitted itself in East Jerusalem since annexing it in 1967. Israel is reportedly being asked to halt all construction in Israeli neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. This includes the neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, whose planned expansion by 1600 housing units, announced on the day of US Vice-President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel, touched off the current crisis.

See:; Israel fears US will withdraw support in UN; Jason Koutsoukis; 30/3/10;; The big shift: US puts Israel on notice; Paul McGeough; 29/310;

Netanyahu becomes an irritation
Andrew Sullivan; 30/3/10
“Let me know if there is anything new,” was Barack Obama’s final, somewhat contemptuous instruction to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, whom he left in a room at the White House and subsequently stiffed for dinner. Those who believe that Obama is incapable of anger are, it appears, being proven wrong. Buoyed by his healthcare victory, and smarting from Netanyahu’s previous refusal last year to co-operate over the building of new homes for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, the President simply refused to listen to the latest excuses. There’s now a widening irritation in Washington over Netanyahu’s refusal to accept that Israeli intransigence over settlements is badly hurting the US’s interests around the world. This is a real change. To suggest that any conflict exists between Israel’s interests and the US’s has been a taboo in Washington for decades. Since the end of the Cold War, the battle against jihadist terrorism had seemed to place Israel firmly in the camp of those on the US’s side.