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Israeli right cuts Biden's legs away
#1
The timing was clearly designed to stall the peace process:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/...18927.html

Quote:First praise, then a rebuke: Biden’s Israel visit turns sour
US Vice-President condemns plans for hundreds of new homes in occupied territory

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Tuesday, 9 March 2010

[Image: pg-25-biden-getty_334698t.jpg]

The Israeli government last night managed to overshadow a high-profile visit by the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, with an announcement of controversial and politically highly sensitive plans to build 1,600 new homes for Jewish residents in Arab East Jerusalem.

The announcement from the Interior Ministry – which drew a sharp and swift rebuke from Mr Biden himself – came only hours after the Vice-President had personally congratulated the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for "taking risks for peace".

The disclosure of the plan, infuriating the Palestinian leadership the day after it had finally agreed to US-brokered indirect "proximity" talks with Israel – followed an explicit appeal on Monday by President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, to both sides in the conflict "to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks".

The Vice-President declared last night that he condemned the "substance and timing" of the announcement, "particularly with the launching of proximity talks" as "precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel".

The Interior Ministry had said earlier that there would be 60 days to allow appeals against the plan for a substantial expansion of the existing Ultra-Orthodox East Jerusalem "neighbourhood" of Ramat Shlomo. Most of the international community, which has never accepted Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, regards the district as a settlement.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, reacted angrily to news of the expansion. "With such an announcement, how can you build trust?" he said. "This is destroying our efforts to work with Mr Mitchell. It's a really disastrous situation. I hope that this will be an eye-opener for all in the international community about the need to have the Israeli government stop such futile exercises."

Israeli officials indicated last night that the revelation had come as a "surprise" to Mr Netanyahu, who was not consulted about its timing by the right-wing Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, leader of the Sephardic Ultra-Orthodox party Shas, and a key component of Mr Netanyahu's ruling coalition.

In a hasty damage limitation exercise last night, Mr Yishai's spokesman said the meeting of the committee which approved the plan had been "determined in advance" and insisted "there there is no connection to US Vice-President Joe Biden's visit to Israel". His statement added that Mr Yishai had "updated" Mr Netanyahu "this evening".

Nevertheless Palestinian leaders will point to the disclosure as strong evidence of what they see as the relentless growth of Jewish settlement construction in East Jerusalem and a further vindication of the demands they have made – in vain – for a total halt to such expansion in order to improve the atmosphere for negotiations with Israel.

Mr Netanyahu last year rejected the urgings of President Barack Obama for a settlement freeze to help kick-start peace talks and instead announced a 10-month temporary and partial freeze, one which did not stop Israel's announcement on Monday of 112 new homes in the – also Ultra-Orthodox – settlement of Beitar Illit.

The rapid expansion of Ultra-Orthodox housing east of the "green line" that was Israel's border up to the Six Day War in 1967 is driven as much by the desire to accommodate the large families of Israel's rapidly growing Ultra-Orthodox population as by the ideology which informs much of the rest of Jewish settlement in occupied territory.

But that makes little difference to the fears of Palestinians that "facts on the ground" are being created which make it increasingly difficult to envisage the contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza which they regard as the only acceptable outcome of peace talks.

Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem council member for the leftist Meretz Party, said that "the fact that Eli Yishai couldn't restrain himself for another two-three days until Biden left Israel means his intention was to slap the US administration in the face". He added that the announcement was "a provocation to the US and to the Prime Minister".

The latest row will create unwelcome difficulties for a visit in which Mr Biden has been seeking to proclaim strong US loyalty to the security interests of Israel – which is increasingly restive about Iran's nuclear ambitions – as well as helping to kick-start negotiations with the Palestinians.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#2
David Guyatt Wrote:The timing was clearly designed to stall the peace process:


That's right David, and the Palestinians would understandably say 'what peace process?'.

As the world watches in disbelief, Israel seems to be making the humiliation of its main ally a grotesque national sport. I get the feeling that in the US the penny has finally dropped. Years of mollycoddling, protecting and encouraging Israel's special brand of self-delusion (ie. we are God's chosen people) has created an incorrigible spoilt brat of a nation, unable to understand that others besides themselves have rights, and utterly incapable of taking their place among the global community of responsible nation states.

All those decades of shielding Israel from the criticism and sanction its actions warranted hasn't done them any good at all. Now what remains is a massive problem for the rest of the world.
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#3
It seems to be the right working this one up. And I have the odd sense that the right in the US are in cahoots with it too. No evidence for that at all to be fair, but I just do not think they'd stuff it at Obama unless they knew they were protected.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155257.html

Quote:When Israelis degrade Israel by humiliating Joe Biden

By Bradley Burston

Why would Israeli officials degrade Israel by humiliating the vice-president of the United States?

What conceivable advantage is there in the Interior Ministry choosing the occasion of a high-profile visit by Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a mission aimed at soothing strained relations between Israel and the Obama administration, to announce the approval of 1,600 new homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem?

Or to add, in insult to injury, that construction on the new homes could begin as soon as early May.

What could officials here gain from what is, in effect, an Israeli version of the incitement the government so keenly - and correctly -decries in its Palestinian incarnations?

It the same edge that Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud stood to gain by telling the Washington Post, "While we welcome Vice President Biden, a longtime friend and supporter of Israel, we see it as nothing short of an insult that President Obama himself is not coming."

It is the base sentiment that Avigdor Lieberman's Foreign Ministry has courted in trying to make Israel appear to loom large by treating dignitaries from overseas to petty indignities and frank disrespect.

The profit, for the hard right, is political. It mines an emotional vein along a relatively small but potent segment of the Israeli electorate, which holds that to insult Israel's indispensible ally is to assert the Jewish state's independence.

In their drive to expunge any trace of hitrapsut - groveling to the colonial master - there are those among the ostensible super-patriots of the right who revel in shots across the bow of the American ship of state.

On the whole, the farther right one goes in Israel, the more pronounced the sentiment. Avowedly pro-Kahane extremists, now strong enough to have placed their own representative in the Knesset, have gained shock cred by lining highway underpasses with posters of the "Jew-hater Obama" photoshopped into wearing a Palestinian kaffieh.

Harder to fathom was the Defense Ministry's Monday announcement that work would resume on 112 homes in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit, units whose construction had been suspended under a White House-spurred settlement freeze.

Chalk it up, if you like, to the powerful pro-settler presence in certain strata of Israel's bureaucracy. Or credit the mercurial, not to say, erratic, policy style of Defense Minister and Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak. Or accept the official explanation that the timing of the decision was coincidence, entirely unconnected with the vice-presidential visit.

In the anarchic swirl of current Israeli governance, the correct answer may well be: all three.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#4
Two Humiliations - Can Obama Live With A Third?

By Alan Hart

March 10, 2010 "
Information Clearing House" -- Amazing! While in Israel, an American vice president explicitly condemns an Israeli decision to build yet more homes, 1,600 apartments, in occupied Arab East Jerusalem. "I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem,” Joe Biden said. “It’s the kind of step that undermines the trust we need". Yes, but...

They were only words. And they call to mind a comment made by Uri Avnery, the grandfather of the Israeli peace movement, in a piece he wrote for Tikkun on 23 September 2009, after President Obama’s call for a complete freeze had been rejected by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“There’s no point in denying it,” Avnery wrote. “In the first round of the match between Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama was beaten... In the words of the ancient proverb, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Netanyahu has tripped Obama on his first step. The President of the United States has stumbled.” And Netanyahu had won in a big way. “Not only did he survive, not only has he shown that he is no ‘sucker’ (a word he uses all the time), he has proven to his people - and to the public at large - that there is nothing to fear: Obama is nothing but a paper tiger. The settlements can go on expanding without hindrance. Any negotiations that start, if they start at all, can go on until the coming of the Messiah. Nothing will come out of them.”

Whether or not Netanyahu himself had advance knowledge of the decision to humiliate Biden is not the point. It is that Biden and so Obama were humiliated, the president for a second time. And that begs my headline question – Can he, Obama, live with a third humiliation?

If the history of previous American attempts to give life to a peace process is a good guide, Obama will have no choice but to live with a third humiliation, and no doubt others, at least for a while. An explanation of why is offered in the Epilogue of the forthcoming Volume 3 of the American edition of my book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. (The Epilogue is titled Is Peace Possible?) Explaining why Obama moved so quickly with his demand for a total settlement freeze, I put it this way:

He knew something that all American presidents know about when serious initiatives for peace in the Middle East can and cannot be taken. (I know what that something is because one of them told me a few months after events had denied him a second term in office). Any American president has only two windows of opportunity to break or try to break the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on Congress on matters to do with Israel/Palestine.

The first window is during the first nine months of his first term because after that the soliciting of funds for the mid-term elections begins. (Presidents don’t have to worry on their own account about funds for the mid-term elections, but with their approach no president can do or say anything that would cost his party seats in Congress. In Obama’s case that is going to be an extremely critical consideration because of the Democrats’ loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat, on 19 January 2010, to a Republican who had demonstrated his ability to read from Zionism’s script during the campaigning).

The second window of opportunity is the last year of his second term if he has one. In that year, because he can’t run for a third term, no president has a personal need for election campaign funds or organised votes.
And that calls to mind the words of an eminent Arab-American, actually a Palestinian-American, who knew Obama very well and, before the race for the White House entered its final, decisive stage, had private conversations with him. A few months before Obama’s victory, this gentleman said to a very dear friend of mine, “Don’t expect any real pressure on Israel from Obama until he is well into his second term.”

I am inclined to the view that after the mid-term elections of a second term, Obama could indeed be the president to do whatever is necessary to bring Zionism to heel in order to best protect America’s own real interests. But the prospects of him winning as second term don’t look very good at the moment.

Visit Alan's website http://www.alanhart.net
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#5
What Biden told Netanyahu behind closed doors: "This is starting to get dangerous for us"

Publicly, Vice President Joe Biden tried to keep up a positive tone in his good will visit to Israel this week. But privately, the Israeli press reports, he had sharper words for Israeli decisions Biden said jeopardize the peace process and U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq, fight insurgents and stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan, and strengthen an international and regional alliance to pressure Iran.
The Israeli press has been extremely critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government's behavior during Biden's visit. See these excerpts from a piece by Shimon Shiffer in Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth today, headline: "Biden: You’re Jeopardizing Regional Peace":
Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel as a friend. As a matter of fact, he is considered to be the greatest friend of Israel ever to have been a member of the U.S. Senate. Legislation that he promoted over the years ensured the Israelis’ security and welfare. It is that great friend of ours who now feels betrayed.
While standing in front of the cameras, the U.S. vice president made an effort to smile at Binyamin Netanyahu even after having learned on Tuesday that the Interior Ministry had approved plans to build 1,600 housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. But in closed conversations, Joe Biden took an entirely different tone. ...
People who heard what Biden said were stunned. “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden castigated his interlocutors. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”
The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.
Beyond his desire to allay Israel’s fears about the Iranian nuclear threat, Biden asked the Israeli decision-makers to show the same degree of understanding and sensitivity to the United States’ interests in the Middle East and the military campaign that it is currently waging against radical Islamic agents in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Netanyahu has gone out of his way to placate the vice president. .... Aides to the prime minister have been trying to learn the lessons from this clumsy incident ....
Last night, after Biden publicly attacked Israel during his visit to Ramallah and spoke out furiously against it behind closed doors, Netanyahu’s aides began to focus their attention on another formidable challenge: to persuade the vice president of the United States to soften his tone in the speech he delivers today at Tel Aviv University.
The problem is that U.S. administration officials didn’t buy the explanation that Netanyahu did not know in advance. Officials in both the White House and the State Department accused Israel of having set Biden up. ...
More probably, U.S. officials may believe that Netanyahu was blindsided on this announcement's timing, but hold him responsible anyhow, as in fact as head of the government he is.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen...or_us.html
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#6
I get the sense that we are in the process of witnessing an Israeli Curtis LeMay Cuba moment, wherein the right in Israel entertain the thought of nuking Iran and telling the US to fook off.

If you remember your history, LeMay went out of his way to cause war with the Soviet Union over the Cuba issue and never forgave Kennedy for reaching a compromise with Russia about it. Remarking on it later he said it was "the greatest defeat in our history."
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Reply
#7
More LeMayian tactics perhaps? Not quite a nuclear missile test launch during high tensions but similar I should think?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156048.html

Quote:Share |
Last update - 12:40 12/03/2010

IDF seals off West Bank amid Jerusalem tensions

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday ordered the Israel Defense Forces to impose a general closure on the West Bank, preventing Palestinians from entering Israel.

Barak said only patients, medical staff, religious workers and teachers with special permits to pass through army roadblocks on key access roads.

On Friday, Palestinian youths attempted to break through the blockade the police set up at the entrance to the Temple Mount. Police forces managed to prevent the youths from entering, and one Palestinian was arrested after he assaulted one of the police officers.
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"The IDF will continue to operate in order to protect the citizens of Israel while maintaining the quality of life of the Palestinian population in the area," it said in a statement.


The move was made in anticipation of renewed Jerusalem riots in response to a recent government decision to expand settlements in East Jerusalem.

The West Bank will be sealed off for 48 hours, and the closure will be lifted on Saturday at midnight.

Police say only men over 50 will be allowed to pray Friday at the Temple Mount, while no limitations were placed on women.

On Tuesday, the Interior Ministry announced its decision to authorize 1,600 more housing units in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem. The announcement created a diplomatic uproar and received stark condemnation from visiting United States Vice President Joe Biden.

There have been clashes after Friday prayers at mosques in Jerusalem and
elsewhere in recent weeks, sparked by deadlock in peace talks and Israel's inclusion of two West Bank shrines on a list of national heritage sites.

On Friday last week, youths hurled rocks from the Temple Mount, on which the al-Aqsa Mosque stands, at Jewish worshippers praying at the Wailing Wall beneath the elevated compound.

Police responded by storming the open-air plateau to disperse the protesting crowd and some 60 Palestinians were treated for the effects of teargas, while 15 policemen were lightly wounded by stones.

Several Palestinians have been badly wounded and dozens of protesters and
Israeli policemen have suffered light injuries.

The closure began at midnight Thursday and will end at midnight Saturday.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Reply
#8
David Guyatt Wrote:More LeMayian tactics perhaps? Not quite a nuclear missile test launch during high tensions but similar I should think?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156048.html

Quote:Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday ordered the Israel Defense Forces to impose a general closure on the West Bank, preventing Palestinians from entering Israel.

Barak said only patients, medical staff, religious workers and teachers with special permits to pass through army roadblocks on key access roads.

On Friday, Palestinian youths attempted to break through the blockade the police set up at the entrance to the Temple Mount. Police forces managed to prevent the youths from entering, and one Palestinian was arrested after he assaulted one of the police officers.

Yup.

The West Bank is run by the Israeli quisling, Abbas.

If the Israelis are shutting the border on the runt quisling part of "Palestine", then trouble, perhaps of insane LeMay proportions, is brewing.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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#9
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156272.html

Quote:Last update - 10:29 14/03/2010

U.S. finally calls Mideast diplomacy by name - crisis

By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent

In retrospect, Vice-President Biden's words at Tel-Aviv University ("I should probably be used to it by now, but I'm always struck every time I come back by the hospitality of the Israeli people") sounded pretty ironic.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon ended his visit to Washington on Thursday - a visit which coincided with the current crisis between Washington and Jerusalem, saying that "it's my understanding that this incident is behind us".

Apparently, it only just began. In an interview both to NBC and CNN on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the announcement to expand building in East Jerusalem "insulting'.
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"It was not just an unfortunate incident of timing but the substance was something that is not needed, as we are attempting to move toward the resumption of negotiation", she told NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

After mentioning the U.S. support of Israel?s security and the values shared between the two countries, she resumed discussion of the diplomatic incident. "It was insulting not just to the vice president, who certainly didn't deserve that. He was there with a very clear message of commitment to the peace process and solidarity with the Israeli people. But it was an insult to the United States. The United States is deeply invested in trying to work with the parties in order to bring about this resolution. We don't get easily discouraged, so we're working toward the resumption of the negotiations. But we expect Israel and the Palestinians to do their part, and not to take any action that will undermine the chance to achieve a two state solution".

In an interview with CNN, Clinton explained that the U.S.-Israeli relations "are not at risk," but later that "it was just really a very unfortunate and difficult moment for everyone - the United States, our Vice President, who had gone to reassert America's strong support for Israeli security - and I regret deeply that that occurred and made that view known."

Secretary Clinton said she didn't have any reason to believe Netanyahu knew about it, "but he is the prime minister. It's like the President or the Secretary of State; when you have certain responsibilities, ultimately, you are responsible," she said.

One might expect that at her scheduled appearance at the AIPAC annual conference in Washington in slightly more than a week, Clinton might soften a bit to assuage the renewed bitterness that resulted from Biden's visit, which was intended to provide exactly the opposite.

"Did you mean something by 'Bibi'"?

At the State Department press briefing, Assistant Secretary Philip J.Crowley reported some of the details from Clinton?s phone conversation with Netanyahu, saying that she reiterated the administrations objection not only to the timing, but to the "substance" of the announcement as well. He added that the U.S. "considers the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship," which "had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America?s interests."

"The Secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States' strong commitment to Israel's security. And she made clear that the Israeli Government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process," said Crowley.

The following question by one of the reporters, who asked whether Crowley meant something by addressing the Israeli prime minister merely as 'Bibi' ("Knowing that from the podium you all use your words very carefully, you referred to the prime minister as Bibi Netanyahu. Is that intentional? You're not going to quote him using his full first name? You're using a nickname, which could be seen as pejorative by some") definitely provided some comic relief. But in general, the 'c' word that both the Obama administration and the Israeli government carefully avoided since the emergence of tensions finally broke loose - it is a crisis.

The same settlements that grabbed attention when both the Obama administration and the Israeli government made their first steps, and later were swept under the rug, came back to haunt their relationship and the phantom peace process. Those in Washington dealing with the Middle East every now and then have a strong sense of dejavu, but the claim attributed to Netanyahu's aides that the U.S. "initiated" this crisis will for sure drop some jaws in utter disbelief. Attack might be the best defense, but the way this incident develops will block any potential for meaningful negotiations - direct or mediated talks - for a long time.

Here are some highlights from the discussion following the announcement:
The Anti-Defamation League was "shocked and stunned by the Administration's public dressing down of Israel by saying it had "undermined trust and confidence in the peace process, and in America's interests".

The National Jewish Democratic Council is "proud of Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Israel and all that it has accomplished, and we support him fully, including his frank and honest words delivered in response to the unfortunately-timed announcement of plans for new housing units made by Israel?s Interior Ministry."

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.): "I urge the Administration to spend more time working to stop Iran from building nuclear bombs and less time concerned with zoning issues in Jerusalem. As Iran accelerates its uranium enrichment, we should not be condemning one of America's strongest democratic allies in the Middle East.'


Daniel Levy from the New America Foundation: "In the absence of decisive American leadership, Israel is likely to dig itself deeper into a hole, burying the last vestiges of hope for pragmatic Zionism. And America too will not emerge unscathed. The president can give any number of Cairo speeches and appoint Sen. Mitchell as special peace envoy, Sec. Clinton can appoint Farah Pandit as representative to Muslim communities and Rashad Hussain as envoy to the O.I.C., but these officials had all better be given the cellphone number of the Israeli interior ministry, Jerusalem district planning and building department, because that office and others in Israel's bureaucracy still have the deciding vote in framing America's image in the region."

(http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2...and_canyon)

Stephen P. Cohen, president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development: "This synchronicity can in no way be dismissed as happenstance or as a resoundingly bad-timing accident. It was intentional, and it was intended to deflate the significance of discussions with a man who has long been the most uncompromising pro-Israel figure in the Obama administration and one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in the Democratic Party and in the United States Congress." Israeli Ministers Yishai and Lieberman are determined to prevent a revival of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, even though Netanyahu must realize at this point that he can no longer be passive and permissive about the actions and decisions of his more extreme ministers. If he remains silent and inactive in face of these actions, he will have forfeited his leadership."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-p-...95756.html

Some expert's opinions at the New York Times:

Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations, currently scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center: "If you're hoping for an Israeli-American war, I wouldn't bet on it".. beyond some very tough words by America, don't expect much more?. The administration has yet to figure out how to maintain America's special relationship with Israel (which can serve U.S. interests), yet prevent that bond from becoming so exclusive that Israel acts without consequence or cost, and America has little independence of its own on peace process policies."

Amjad Atallah, director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation: "The United States has been sending its messages with carrots and great diplomatic restraint. The current Israeli government, in stark contrast, has been responding like a petulant child, outraged that it hasn't been able to get U.S. acquiescence to its own short-term political strategy.There is a great deal at stake in this public and private dispute between Israel and the United States. President Obama should consider responding in a similar manner, by creating his own facts on the ground, and ending all forms of U.S. cover and support of the settlement enterprise and other policies that sustain the occupation."

David Makovsky, the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: "It would be suicidal for Netanyahu to seek to sabotage such a friendly visit given Israel's supreme interest in both of these issues. A deliberate move to undermine the Biden visit could fatally undermine Netanyahu's efforts to improve ties with the Obama administration. Even Netanyahu's biggest critics do not think he would act in a manner so counterproductive to Israel's own concept of the national interest.. Something more practical is required: namely that Israelis and Palestinians reach a baseline agreement that neither party will expand into the neighborhoods of the other in East Jerusalem. This is more attainable than a freeze, and could avoid flashpoint incidents in the future."

P.S. In a book "Myth, illusions and peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East," published last summer, which Makovsky co-authored with Dennis Ross, the two wrote: "...The U.S. at this point cannot afford to raise expectations again." At this point, however, the question is more how low can these expectations go.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#10
[size=12]http://www.informationclearinghouse.info...e24982.htm
“This is Starting to Get Dangerous”

By Scott Horton

March 15, 2010 "
Harper's" --- Last week, Vice President Joe Biden was publicly slapped in the face by the Netanyahu Government during his trip to Jerusalem. The Israeli Government used the occasion to announce the settlement of 1,600 Israelis in Arab East Jerusalem, in defiance of America’s calls for a freeze on settlements. According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth, Biden responded: “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”
Now in a fascinating briefing note at Foreign Policy, Mark Perry gives us a clearer sense of what Biden was thinking:
On Jan. 16… a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) “too old, too slow … and too late.”
The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’s instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command — or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’s reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.
Perry goes on to say that the briefing “hit the White House like a bombshell.” There’s no doubt that this is what inspired Biden’s comments. Indeed, this was plain from the Yedioth Ahronoth report, which went on, after quoting Biden, to state: “The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.”
The Netanyahu Government and its supporters in the United States want the controversies relating to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip to be dealt with alone, detached from any impact they could have on the broader region and the interests the United States is pursuing there with its troop placement in two different theaters. That in fact reflects the way most American media report on these developments. But this approach is foolish, for reasons that the Petraeus briefing makes clear. Perry sees this as a struggle between two “lobbies,” namely the Israel lobby and the U.S. military. The Israel lobby is very powerful, he says, but how can it compete with the U.S. military asserting the imperative interest in the security of U.S. troops? The Netanyahu Government’s recent dealings reflect contempt for the Obama Administration and indifference at best for its position in the Middle East. These steps seem perfectly coordinated with neoconservatives in the United States, as shown in the “apology” offered on their behalf by Washington Post editorial writer Jackson Diehl (“Biden flunked,” he concludes, applying typically obtuse reasoning). The question is whether a close ally can throw juvenile tantrums and abuse its protector indefinitely without consequences. So far the answer appears to be: yes it can.
Perry’s column is an essential read. I’m halfway through his new book, Talking with Terrorists, and expect to have a discussion of the book in the form of an interview with Perry up before the end of the month.
© The Harper's Magazine Foundation. All rights reserved.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info...e24982.htm[/SIZE]
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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