As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was leaving Washington, after undergoing a series of what seemed like deliberate humiliations by the White House, Netanyahu said that he found the golden middle way between U.S. President Barack Obama’s demands and Israel’s positions.
Netanyahu will quickly find out there is no middle way–Obama wants to go all the way, he may be prepared to nibble away at Israel’s positions one nibble at a time but he knows exactly where he wants to go.
It all started with Obama’s speech in Cairo last June. Pulling no punches and for the first time since 1957 during the Eisenhower Administration, the President raised in public a difference of opinion between the United States and Israel, that had existed for many years but had in the past been relegated to the discreet discussions between officials of the two governments.
Israel would have to stop building settlement in the West Bank, Obama said at Cairo University. One does not need to be very smart to know when Obama said the West Bank he did not mean just Judea and Samaria but rather anything that was located beyond the 1949 armistice lines (the Green Line) and that also included the areas of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line.
Rather than stating clearly that this demand contradicted Israel’s basic rights and therefore could not be met, the Israeli government adopted a tactic of making partial accommodations to the Obama’s demands and stalling for time.
First came Netanyahu’s speech at Bar-llan University, agreeing with some reservations to the establishment of a Palestinian State, then came the government’s decision to freeze construction in the settlements of Judea and Samaria for 10 months.
When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Israel for its unprecedented decision and it really was unprecedented–the Israeli government thought it had appeased Washington’s demands, when in reality it was being told by Washington, “So far so good but you still have a long way to go.”
Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival into Israel, on what was trumpeted as a goodwill visit, became an opportunity to turn the decision by a low grade civil servant on the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee into an “insult” to the United States of America. The Prime Minister and government spokesman took this farce seriously and apologized over and over. It was an unfortunate mistake in “timing” they said not realizing that the United States objected not to the timing but to any construction in areas of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line.
Rest here by Moshe Arens Via Haaretz
Related: AP’s Historical Revisionism on Jerusalem Via CAMERA
In 2009 Obama dropped his demands for a building freeze in East Jerusalem
Myths & Facts—Jerusalem Via Jewish Virtual Library