This whole business about housing units in Jerusalem strikes me as more ridiculous than usual, and worse yet is the fallout, which is downright unsettling.
The headlines of most important newspapers (like this one)today have included Netanyahu’s stubborn resistance on the subject of housing construction for Jews in East Jerusalem, most importantly, his speech in front of AIPAC. While these articles have focused on the fretting over fraying Israeli-American ties, any discussion of why this fretting is taking place has been conspicuously absent. What Obama and Hillary have been saying about Israeli settlements is true, plain and simple: the decision to construct housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem is provocative and works counter to the peace process with Palestinians; for the United States - a country which has taken it upon itself to act as an arbiter between Israel and the Palestinian people – to say that this is out of line and that it does not support this decision is in no way unexpected. Well, it is, just not for the normal reasons – it’s unusual for US administrations to be blatantly critical of Israeli policies, even if they aren’t so wise.
But what frustrates me is this worry over the future of Israeli-American relations, as if the two are never allowed to disagree, as if it were absolutely necessary for Hillary to repeat ad nauseum that America will always stand behind Israel. Whether or not we are allies, it is wrong for us to be sending the statement that an ally of ours, whom we support financially and militarily, can act so unilaterally against our interests and yet still receive undying support. That is simply not a healthy diplomatic (or social) relationship. Mutual support is built on mutual interest, and its our interests (and those of the Palestinians, and thus the peace process) that are currently going by the wayside in this issue.
So all debate over Israel’s legacy and the influence of a Jewish lobby aside, we need to stop this unconditional support business: it is shooting ourselves in the foot, and the Palestinians as well.