Just in case it wasn’t clear that America essentially approves Israeli building in East Jerusalem, read here. The sound and fury coming from Washington is purely for show. And it means nothing on the ground.
Meanwhile, the US Zionist lobby is getting angry with the Obama administration. How dare you say anything critical of Israel, you anti-Semites:
Amid continued tensions between Washington and Jerusalem after an Israeli government announcement last week during the goodwill visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that it would approve the construction of 1,600 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, the influential pro-Israel lobby group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) says recent U.S. criticism of the Israeli government is “a matter of serious concern” and has called on the Obama administration to defuse tension with Israel.
The AIPAC statement comes in advance of the group’s major annual strategy conference in Washington starting next weekend, at which both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are due to speak.
It follows Biden’s condemnation of the housing announcement while on a goodwill trip to Israel last week, and a 45-minute follow up call by Clinton to Netanyahu Friday in which she blasted the housing announcement, saying it undermines trust and confidence in the peace process and in American interests.
White House advisor David Axelrod told NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday the White House was insulted by the Israeli announcement, and considered it “an affront,” coming just two days after the Palestinians had agreed to go into U.S.-mediated indirect proximity talks with the Israelis.
Netanyahu on Sunday said the timing of the announcement was “regrettable” and “hurtful,” but done in innocence. A Jerusalem planning committee also reportedly canceled this week’s planned construction-related agenda items, although not the project itself that was the source of the latest controversy.
Middle East Peace Envoy George Mitchell is slated to return to the region on Tuesday to try to salvage the proximity talks.
“What happened to Vice President Biden this week in Jerusalem was egregious but hardly new,” former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, now vice president of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, wrote at The Daily Beast Saturday. “Right-wing governments in Israel have regularly embarrassed high-level U.S. officials by making announcements about new settlement activity during or just after their visits.”
AIPAC statement below the jump:
“AIPAC CALLS RECENT STATEMENTS BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT “A MATTER OF SERIOUS CONCERN” URGES OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO WORK TO IMMEDIATELY DIFFUSE THE TENSION WITH ISRAEL 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 diffuse the tension with the Jewish State. Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East. The foundation of the U.S-Israel relationship is rooted in America’s fundamental strategic interest, shared democratic values, and a long-time commitment to peace in the region. Those strategic interests, which we share with Israel, extend to every facet of American life and our relationship with the Jewish State, which enjoys vast bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people. 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. The escalated rhetoric of recent days only serves as a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done to with regard to the urgent issue of Iran’s rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors. We strongly urge the Administration to work closely and privately with our partner Israel, in a manner befitting strategic allies, to address any issues between the two governments. As Vice President Biden said last week in Israel, “Progress in the Middle East occurs when there is no daylight between the United States and Israel.”