Israeli PM Netanyahu caved in to most of the demands that the U.S. set as the price for the Administration not to snub him when he comes to Washington. He agreed to “suspend” Jewish housing construction in parts of Jerusalem, and to discuss the major issues during the U.S. shuttle negotiations with Israel and the U.S., to ease the blockade of Gaza. [Israel had wanted the shuttle negotiations just to lay the groundwork for face-to-face negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). The U.S. calls these concessions confidence-building for the P.A..
Secretary of State Clinton called Netanyahu’s concessions “constructive.”
Why does the U.S. want the shuttle negotiations to take up the core issues? Dr. Aaron Lerner, head of IMRA, believes that the reason is so that the U.S. can inject its own policy ideas (IMRA, 3/20 ).
Nobody asks the P.A. to make concessions for confidence-building for Israel nor even to implement the terms of its prior agreements with Israel. The P.A. continues to honor terrorism, so what confidence can there be that it will make peace?
The U.S. policy ideas would benefit the Arabs. In a world hostile to Israel, and Clinton’s restrained response further shows that the Obama administration remains hostile to Israel, Israel makes a mistake in letting the U.S., the Quartet, and any Muslim state act as mediator in negotiations. Those mediators represent Israel’s enemy. They are not neutral (“honest”) brokers.
In caving into U.S. demands, Netanyahu does not serve his country nor the U.S.. That is because the U.S. is enabling an unrepentant, religiously imperialist Palestinian Authority to gain sovereign war power in behalf of jihad. The U.S. is a victim of the jihad. The U.S. is undermining itself.
Netanyahu is notorious for caving in to outside pressure. But the U.S. did not distinguish itself with threatening to snub him and snubbing other foreign leaders. This is petty and in some cases boomerangs on the U.S..
Some readers missed the point that the U.S. blew up a minor misunderstanding about a few houses not because there were grounds for indignation but as a pretext for making the subsequent demands. The housing is a minor issue, because negotiations will determine final status regardless of houses. But this is the way the State Dept. conducts its machinations.
P.S.: The New York Times of 3/21 reports differences of opinion over how much and what Netanyahu conceded, and whether he is assuring his people one thing but doing another.
(For prior article on the U.s.-Israel rift, click here )