The US issued an ultimatum to Israel regarding construction in the West Bank, threatening to avoid vetoing at the UN a French resolution calling to declare the settlements illegal, Channel 2 reports. …
Netanyahu vehemently opposed more construction, during the security cabinet meeting he headed yesterday.
According to Channel 2, senior White House officials told Netanyahu they are closely watching the decisions of the Israeli cabinet and warned that if Israel approves more building in the West Bank, it will come at a price.
“We will not risk international backing for some declaration of building or expanding construction in Itamar,” a senior official close to the prime minister is quoted by Channel 2 as saying.
This is not about homes in Itamar or apartments in Jerusalem. It is about whether we are a sovereign state or a satellite of the US.
Freezing Jewish construction while Arab construction is not limited (indeed in many cases it’s paid for by the EU) is dangerous from a security standpoint, as well as establishing a political precedent that the land does not belong to us. If it is intended to make a partition possible (even if such were desirable) by preventing the establishment of facts on the ground, it is biased toward the Arabs.
It is also racist, specifically discriminating against Jews. There is no way a Jewish state can acquiesce to this and maintain its self-respect.
We can’t continue the policy of making concessions in response to Obama’s threats. The seriousness of the threats and the size of the concessions demanded will only increase. Concessions will be pocketed and become the basis for further demands. Isn’t it clear yet that the man who took the side of Hamas in the recent Gaza conflict isn’t our friend?
Far worse, Obama has greatly empowered Iran, our worst enemy, with a huge financial windfall and removed the obstacles from its path to nuclear weapons.
Israel ought to have a close relationship with the US, because we share many of the same ideals. We certainly have the potential to be a valuable ally in a dangerous part of the world. But the present administration in Washington does not behave like an ally. Because of the support for Israel in the streets of America — no, not in the elite universities, but among ordinary Americans and their Congress — the president and his appointees like to talk about how much they care about Israel’s security. But they continue to act in ways that directly damage it.
I propose that we do implement a freeze, not on construction, but on our relationship with the Obama Administration.
The Prime Minister should publicly announce that while Israel wishes to continue its close relationship with the American people, it does not see the Obama Administration as an appropriate partner with which to do so. Therefore, until January 20, 2017, Israel will downgrade its relationship with the administration to the minimum required for diplomatic relations.
The PM should say that Israel does not see the administration as an unbiased broker in any negotiations with the PLO or anyone else.
Questionable US personnel in Israel (those suspected of working for the CIA) should be made persona non grata and asked to leave. The US-operated X-band radar station on Mt. Keren in the Negev, which serves as much to spy on Israel as to warn of an Iranian attack, should either be transferred to IDF control or shut down. Intelligence cooperation with the US should be limited.
These steps should be taken with a view not only of embarrassing Obama, but as a practical means of improving the probability that military moves against Iran would not be detected until it is too late to stop them.
It should be made clear that this action is being taken because of the policies and attitudes of specific individuals in the administration, starting with the President, and does not represent a divergence from Israel’s traditional admiration of the values and principles on which the US was founded.
I’m sure such an action would be met with outrage, and threats to cut military aid and to vote against Israel in the UN. Nevertheless, it would be considered a diplomatic defeat for Obama, and while he could hold up deliveries of arms, it would be painful for his constituencies in the areas where defense industries that supply those arms are located. Once a new president takes office, these steps can be reconsidered.
Yes, the US would vote for the French resolution and others inimical to Israel. But this is a reasonable trade-off for the recovery of Israel’s sovereignty. Indeed it might even be possible to arrange a Russian veto in return for embarrassing Obama!