The breach between the Israeli government and the Obama administration becomes a little more public:
“The White House responded angrily Tuesday to Israel’s plan to build 900 new housing units beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, despite specific objections from the U.S., saying that “we are dismayed.”
In a statement, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs voiced the U.S.’s disappointment with “the Jerusalem Planning Committee’s decision to move forward on the approval process for the expansion of Gilo in Jerusalem.”
The Jerusalem municipal planning committee approved the construction plan Tuesday despite an expose in Israel’s Yedioth Aharonot newspaper earlier in the day revealing that the U.S. has specifically objected to the construction outlined in the plan.
“Ata time when we are working to relaunch negotiations,” the White House spokesman went on to say, “these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed. Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations.”
“The U.S. also objects to other Israeli practices in Jerusalem related to housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes,” the statement continued.”
I’m afraid the current Israeli government overestimates the durability of its political support here in the United States, even among many Jewish Americans. It is behaving as though it can ignore American requests without consequence, and in the long run I don’t think that’s true. Israel is certainly a sovereign country; it has every right to make its own decisions. However, the same is true of the United States, which supplies substantial financial, military and diplomatic support to Israel that it can adjust as its national interests dictate.
The almost monolithic support for Israel in Congress is not reflected among the American people as a whole. In addition, the acts of Palestinian terrorism that once provided political cover and justification for Israel’s settlement expansion have largely ceased, in large part because of Israeli military success. Under these conditions, continued expansion makes Israel look like the party that is refusing to negotiate in good faith.
The British government has responded in a similar fashion, reports AFP:
LONDON — Government condemned Tuesday Israel’s green light for hundreds of new housing units to be built in annexed east Jerusalem, saying it made a peace deal more difficult.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband “has been very clear that a credible deal involves Jerusalem as a shared capital,” said a spokeswoman, after Israel’s interior ministry approved the construction of 900 new units in Gilo.
“Expanding settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem makes that deal much harder. So this decision is wrong and we oppose it,” added the Foreign Office spokeswoman.