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Israel and Netanyahu anger Biden, Clinton and Obama……

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

It all started on Vice President Joe Biden’s trip this week to Israel……

First the Israeli’s where miffed because Obama didn’t come…..

Then, Biden reassured the Israeli’s that the America…as usuall… has it’s back…..

Then…….Well, then things went sideways….

Israel had announced prior to the visit that it was building a 1,660 apartment unit , Ramat Shlomo, a religious Jewish settlement in an area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem……and the Palestinians where mad

That was a not good…….

President Obama…who is determined to get done something no other President has been able do…..has signaled loud and clear from the jump that he has Israel’s back….but that they cannot go on winking at the support the United States will alway have for the country….while ignoring the Palestinian problem in their back yard…..

It must be clear to the Israeli’s…. that Obama MUST seriously attempt to solve the Palestinian problem ….in order to gain face in trying to address  bigger problems in the Middle East…….

And he needs Israeli’s help….( and needs to show the Arabs that he’ll spank Israel coming out of the gate )

This on Biden’s trip……

Israel’s refusal to stop settlement building despite U.S. urging has been a major obstacle to a resumption of the talks, and the announcement put Biden in an uncomfortable position ahead of a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units,” Biden said in a statement issued after he arrived 90 minutes late for a dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said the blueprint for Ramat Shlomo, a religious Jewish settlement in an area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem by Israel, “undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.”

The Palestinians had dropped a demand that Israel freeze settlement building and agreed to up to four months of indirect negotiations after receiving Arab League endorsement last week.

“Israel is not interested in negotiations, nor in peace,” Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters, adding that the Ramat Shlomo project “will lead to negotiations being obstructed.”

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who heads a religious party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition and is responsible for the plan’s announcement, described its timing as happenstance.

“There was certainly no intention to provoke anyone, and certainly not to come along and hurt the vice president of the United States,” Yishai told Israel’s Channel One television.

“Final approval (for the project) will take another few months, if it is approved, and I agree that the timing (of the announcement) should have been in another two or three weeks.”

But remember….the Palestainians need to give up something also….

Netanyahu repeated an Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They have rejected that.

The Biden statement on support for Israel……

“There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security.”

A day after Biden left Israel……Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laced into the Israeli’s again……

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israel’s behaviour “insulting” after it approved 1,600 new homes last week at a settlement in the Jerusalem area on the very day Vice President Joe Biden was there to set a seal on relaunched negotiations.

She went on….

Though Clinton stressed that Washington’s ties with the Jewish state were “durable and strong”, she had told Netanyahu in a telephone call on Friday that he must act to repair the relationship and show his commitment to an alliance which, she reminded him, was key to Israel’s security in a hostile region.

While accepting that Netanyahu was taken by surprise by the settlement housing approval granted on Tuesday by his interior ministry, which is run by the pro-settler religious Shas party, Clinton said the prime minister was still responsible for it.

Clinton called “to make clear that the United States considered the announcement to be a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president’s trip,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

The Israeli reaction…..

There was no reaction from Israeli officialdom during the Jewish sabbath but in Washington, the Anti-Defamation League, which lobbies for Israel with U.S. lawmakers, called Clinton’s remarks on the diplomatic debacle a “gross over-reaction.”

“We are shocked and stunned at the administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel,” the ADL’s Abraham Foxman said.

“We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States.

“One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians.”

The bottom line for the future….

A senior U.S. official indicated that Washington may focus on playing down the significance of the past week’s approval for future housebuilding — “this was a year away at minimum”, he said — and voicing understanding for Netanyahu’s difficulties.

‘Perilous’
The official described the premier’s position as “perilous” due to his coalition dependence on pro-settler groups.

But he also said Washington expected Netanyahu to avoid a repeat of disputes over settlements: “The Israelis know the only way to stay on the positive side of the ledger — internationally and with us — is to not have them recurring.”

Even the scope of possible talks is still in doubt, however, and few see any rapid prospect of a solution to the conflict.

Israel has so far balked at Palestinian demands that the indirect phase include talks on “final status issues,” including borders, refugees and sharing the city of Jerusalem.

Washington wants the talks to cover issues of “consequence” but has yet to spell out publicly what that would entail.

The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators — the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — also condemned the settlement plan and said it would assess the situation at a scheduled meeting in Moscow next week.

Update…..

Israeli authorities have sealed off the West Bank for 48 hours, preventing Palestinians from entering Israel, over fears of unrest. The government is concerned about violence this weekend in reaction to Israel’s announcement that it will build 1,600 new settler homes in disputed East Jerusalem.

There have also been clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian worshippers and mosques in Jerusalem in recent weeks. Israeli police have also barred men under 50 from attending Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque. The order went into effect at midnight on Thursday and will last until midnight on Saturday.

In response to Israel’s construction announcement, the Arab League withdrew its support for indirect talks between the two sides. U.S. envoy George Mitchell called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to urge him to go ahead with talks, but Abbas reportedly demanded a freeze on the new settlement project before the Palestinians would return to the table.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden left Israel yesterday after a visit that was supposed to reaffirm U.S.-Israel ties, but ended up straining them further. Netanyahu apologized on Thursday for the timing of the East Jerusalem construction announcement.

From foreignpolicly.com….

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Religion, Travel, Updates, Women | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments