“‘Israel’s one of our closest allies and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that’s not going to go away. But friends are going to disagree sometimes,’ the president said. ‘There is a disagreement in terms of how we can move this peace process forward… The actions that were taken by the Interior Minister in Israel weren’t helpful to that process, Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged as much and apologized for it.'”
“Consistently, Israel has held that Jerusalem should remain its undivided capital and that both Jews and Arabs have the right to build anywhere in the city.
“This policy certainly applies to neighborhoods like Ramat Shlomo, which, though on land incorporated into Israel in 1967, are home to nearly half of the city’s Jewish population. Isolated from Arab neighborhoods and within a couple of miles of downtown Jerusalem, these Jewish neighborhoods will surely remain a part of Israel after any peace agreement with the Palestinians. Israelis across the political spectrum are opposed to restrictions on building in these neighborhoods, and even more opposed to the idea of uprooting hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens…
“During his visit, Vice President Biden declared that support for Israel is ‘a fundamental national self-interest on the part of the United States’ and that America ‘has no better friend in the community of nations than Israel.’ The people of Israel, in turn, view the strengthening of their relations with the United States as a paramount national objective. Because we share fundamental values — democracy, respect for individual rights and the rule of law — our friendship can sustain occasional disagreements, and remain unassailably solid.”
“Obama is directly responsible for one of the most absurd turns in the history of Middle East negotiations. Though Palestinian leaders negotiated with Israeli governments that built extensively in the West Bank, they now refused to sit down with the first Israeli government to actually agree to a suspension of building. Obama’s demand for a building freeze in Jerusalem led to a freeze in negotiations…
“In the last year, the administration has not once publicly condemned the Palestinians for lack of good faith—even though the Palestinian Authority media has, for example, been waging a months-long campaign denying the Jews’ historic roots in Jerusalem. Just after Biden left Ramallah, Palestinian officials held a ceremony naming a square in the city after a terrorist responsible for the massacre of 38 Israeli civilians. (To its credit, yesterday, the administration did condemn the Palestinian Authority for inciting violence in Jerusalem.)…
“To the fictitious notion of a peace process, Obama has now added the fiction of an intransigent Israel blocking the peace process.”
“Supporters of Israel always want the U.S. to ignore their wrongdoing and focus on the Palestinians. And the supporters of the Palestinians are quick to deflect criticism when they do something dumb and demand that the U.S. decry Israeli actions. We see it in Israel and here in the U.S…
“At the end of the day, America has spent years and years trying to broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Generations in both countries have grown up weary of constant friction, battles and death. It’s time both sides do all they can to set aside their differences and co-exist peacefully.
“And the only way to get there is if America speaks forcefully when one or both sides do something that will endanger a peace accord. In this case, Israel’s actions aren’t helpful. And we were right to call them on it.”
“We are moving inexorably toward, and perhaps have now reached, an Israeli crisis with Mr. Obama. Americans must realize that allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is empowering an existential threat to the Israeli state, to Arab governments in the region that are friendly to the U.S., and to long-term global peace and security.
“Mr. Netanyahu must realize he has not been banking good behavior credits with Mr. Obama but simply postponing an inevitable confrontation. The prime minister should recalibrate his approach, and soon. Israel’s deference on Palestinian issues will not help it with Mr. Obama after a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program. It would be a mistake to think that further delays in such a strike will materially change the toxic political response Israel can expect from the White House. Israel’s support will come from Congress and the American people, as opinion polls show, not from the president.
“Mr. Obama is not merely heedless of America’s predominant global position. He is also embarrassed enough by it not to regret diminishing it.”