Monday, March 15, 2010

The Good Kind of "Crisis"

Israel being Israel:
The Israeli defence ministry today authorized further construction in a Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank.

The decision came prior to the arrival in Israel of the US vice-president, Joe Biden, who is expected to announce a new round of indirect peace talks.

Approval for 112 new flats in Beitar Illit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement near Bethlehem, was given despite a 10-month partial curb on settlement construction announced by the Israeli government under heavy US pressure in November.

The decision to approve the building work appeared to be an attempt to appease members of Israel's rightwing coalition government. It was greeted with dismay by Palestinian officials.

George Mitchell, the US special envoy, has spent months attempting to get Israelis and Palestinians to restart negotiations, and was hoping a new round of indirect "proximity" talks would begin today.

"If the Israeli government wants to sabotage Mitchell's efforts by taking such steps, let's talk to Mitchell about maybe not doing this if the price is so high," Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said.

For many months, Palestinian officials resisted any return to negotiations with Israel, saying all settlement construction should first be halted in line with the obligations of the US "road map" of 2003.

All settlements on occupied territory are illegal under international law.
Israel colonizing occupied land is nothing new, and while expressing disappointment publicly, the US has never taken the smallest of actions to try and stop it. The good news to come out of this is that Israel decided to show up Biden, and while war crimes may not merit a debate over our relationship, them "showing us up" definitely has:
Israel's relations with the US are at their worst for 35 years amid a continuing row over Jewish settlement plans in East Jerusalem, the Israeli ambassador to Washington admitted today.

US officials are reported to have urged Israel to reconsider sudden plans to build 1,600 homes in the occupied area, after they were described by one of Barack Obama's closest aides as an "affront" to the US that could undermine peace efforts in the Middle East.
. . .
Senior figures in the Obama administration have been unusually forthright in expressing frustration at the plans. On Friday Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, said the announcement was "insulting", and yesterday David Axelrod, one of the architects of Obama's election victory, said the timing was "very destructive".

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, he said: "This was an affront, it was an insult but most importantly it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region."
Strong words from the White House, and well deserved after Israel dumped flesh-burning white phosphorous on Joe Biden's family. Whoops, that's what they did to civilians in Gaza earlier this year, but making Biden look stupid is clearly a far worse offense.

This situation has gotten so bad that even AIPAC is apologizing:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group, released a statement over the weekend lacing into President Obama for what it calls "escalated rhetoric" on the part of the administration in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's push for new housing units in East Jerusalem.

"The Obama Administration's recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern. AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State," according to the statement. "The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests."
Did I say apologizing? Sorry, I meant going on a rant against the Obama Administration and defending something that even Israel's Prime Minister has apologized for. The days when people could defend AIPAC as a something other than a warmongering group of assholes are long over.

Being a dick to Biden was just Israel thinking that the rules don't apply to them, because, well, since their existence as a country that's essentially been the case. It pales in comparison to the the real crimes they've committed, but I'm willing to take anything that shakes up the status quo of the US/Israel relationship. Any time a country that tells you "share fundamental strategic interests" because you give them more weapons than any other country on earth, it's probably time to reevaluate things.

Early in his presidency, Obama showed a large amount of promise with his willingness to confront Israel. Maybe this would be a good time to remind them that it's our guns, tanks and bombs that allow them to bomb the living shit out of Gaza exist.

We have all the leverage, and they have absolutely none. It's about time we started using it.

1 comment:

  1. "Israel colonizing occupied land is nothing new"


    also lol at AIPAC, consistently out-crazying the israeli gov't is no small feat