The big shift: US puts Israel on notice

Paul McGeough; 29/3/10

There was nothing casual in General David Petraeus’s session with the Committee on Senate Armed Services. Far from being off-the-top-of-the-head responses to senators’ questions, Petraeus, the commander of the US Central Command, brought a considered 12,000-word document, in which he framed the Israel-Palestine conflict as a “root cause of instability” and an “obstacle to peace” that played into the hands of Iran and al-Qaeda. Petraeus ditched a cornerstone of neoconservative dogma by charging that perceived US favouritism for Israel fomented anti-American sentiment across the region. “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbours present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests,” he said. “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of US participation with governments and peoples in [my area of responsibility”.