U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is examining taking action against the construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, rather than making do with issuing denunciatory statements.
Senior Israeli officials said that White House officials held a classified discussion a few weeks ago about the possibility of taking active measures against the settlements.
A few senior American officials approached by Haaretz did not deny this, but refused to disclose more details. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan refused to comment.
A discussion on such a sensitive and politically-loaded issue in the White House is extremely irregular and shows to what extent relations between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have deteriorated. …
The White House has not yet decided on steps against the settlements and when, if at all, to carry them out. Significant steps against the settlements may exact a heavy political price from Obama, while symbolic steps would be meaningless and have no effect.
In addition, it isn’t yet clear how the decision to hold early elections will affect the White House’s decisions regarding the settlements. One of the aspects of this that is being looked into by the U.S. government is whether American action against the settlements at this point would weaken Netanyahu in Israeli public opinion, or do just the opposite, by portraying him as one who doesn’t cave in to international pressure.
Some years ago, Israeli intelligence developed a tiny drone, the size and appearance of a common housefly. Equipped with a microphone and Internet access, it has enabled the Mossad to eavesdrop on supposedly secret meetings in Tehran, Gaza and now Washington. Thanks to its unparallelled access to anonymous sources, Abu Yehuda brings you an exclusive look at the transcript of one such meeting. Since we can’t be sure of the identity of the speakers, we’ve given them numbers.
Speaker 1: This may shock some of you, but we’ve learned that seven — seven — Jewish families have purchased apartments in East Jerusalem. Do you realize what this means?
Speaker 2: That Jews can finally afford apartments in Jerusalem?
S1: No, you idiot. That they are contaminating Palestinian land. They are defiling it!
Speaker 3: Er, I think you are referring to the Temple Mount, sir. Abu Mazen says —
S1: The what?
S3: Um, Haram al Sharif, sir. You know. It was members of their Knesset that went up there while the Arab kids were playing football. Abu Mazen was furious at the desecration.
S1: Oh. Well, that’s bad too. Imagine if members of Congress went up to my golf course! Anyway, I heard somebody say that they they were thinking about planning to prepare to start someday building 2,600 new apartments in Givat Hamatos. Now I’m furious!
S2: Givat Hamatos? Isn’t that already a Jewish neighborhood, right next to the Green Line that everyone agrees would remain part of Israel in any peace agreement?
S1: Why are you so dumb? Don’t you understand that everything over the Green Line is Palestinian land? You can’t have Jews there! What good is Palestinian land if there are Jews in it?
S3: Yeah, Abu Mazen said…
S2: But the Mandate declared that the land from the river to the sea was intended for Jewish settlement. What changed that?
S1: Did you flunk History? I went to Columbia and Harvard! I took courses from Rashid Khalidi! It was Jordanian land and they, er, gave it to the Palestinians.
S2: Actually I majored in History with a minor in International law. The Jordanians illegally invaded the territory in 1948. And UNSC resolution 242…
S3: Now, gentlemen. Let’s not quibble. We know that settlers on the wrong side of the line are the biggest obstacle to world peace. Ban Ki Moon explained that the reason Hizballah is about to launch 100,000 rockets at Israel is because there isn’t a peace agreement with the PA! And what about ISIS? It’s their best recruiting tool, after sex slaves. We need to get them out of there so we can have peace.
Speaker 4 (appears to wake up from nap): Yess! Get dem oudt of dere! Give dem a USS Liberty in reverze! Bumb ze zhit oudt of dem! Ve get pees!
S1: Calm down, Zbig. We don’t want to go too far. Bombing settlements might encourage Israelis to vote for Bibi. And that would be tragic. But maybe just one or two Tomahawks…
S3: That’s right. They aren’t paying attention to my denunciatory statements! Who do they think they are? Don’t they know we’re their bosses? We’ll stop buying their bananas!
S2: But what if Congress…
S4: Cungress? To hell vit Cungress! Ve’ll bumb [unintelligible] Cungress too…
S1: Zbig, calm down. You’ll wake the girls. And you, Kerry — swat that damn fly on the wall.
END OF TRANSCRIPT