Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Real Reason Obama Will Never Hit It Off With Netanyahu

From the National Review feature: Krauthammer's Take:
On Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week:
We have already had a year delay in talks because of Obama interjecting the settlement issue in the first place.

Remember, for 17 years the Palestinians and Israelis negotiated, ever since Oslo, directly in the absence of a freeze in settlements. Palestinians never demanded it as a precondition.

In comes Obama, and he demands a freeze of settlements.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Loudest Critics Of Biden Incident In Israel Don't Deal With Facts--But Know Exaclty What They're Doing

The details surrounding the Biden episode and its repercussions are coming fast and furious--and as usual, there is a distinctive one-sidedness to the way they are being portrayed.

In How Obama created the Biden incident, Charles Krauthammer puts the gaffe--surrounding the announcement by Israel's Interior Ministry about housing expansion in a Jewish neighborhood in north Jerusalem--in perspective:
But it was no more than a gaffe. It was certainly not a policy change, let alone a betrayal. The neighborhood is in Jerusalem, and the 2009 Netanyahu-Obama agreement was for a 10-month freeze on West Bank settlements excluding Jerusalem.

Nor was the offense intentional. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not know about this move -- step four in a seven-step approval process for construction that, at best, will not even start for two to three years. [Hat tip: Soccer Dad]
Israeli ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor notes that those making demands on Israel do not even know where Ramat Shlomo, the center of the controversy, is located:
Let's get the facts straight. Ramat Shlomo is not in "east" Jerusalem as often reported, but in the north of Jerusalem. It is not a new settlement, but an existing, established neighbourhood. The planning application has already taken years and will take at least another three for the first brick to be laid.

Most cool-headed analysts agree that Jerusalem suburbs such as Ramat Shlomo will be considered part of Israel under any negotiated two-state solution.
Think about that for a second: not only was the announcement about something that would not even take place for the foreseeable future, and that the announcement itself does not contradict the 10-month freeze that Netanyahu had agreed to--the yelling by critics about Israel building in East Jerusalem is not even in East Jerusalem, and is in an area that many agree will belong to Israel anyway in any peace agreement.