Friday, March 26, 2010

Petraeus climbs down, and the US antes up

New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the US House appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, tells the Jerusalem Post:
 “Bibi has the support of Congress. It is solid. It is secure.”

In a sign of additional support for Israel and its government, as of Thursday afternoon well over half of the House of Representatives had lent their names to a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton affirming their support for the US-Israel relationship and urging the two countries to quietly resolve any differences.
Lowey also asserted that there is no threat to the $3 billion in aid that Israel receives from the US.

Meanwhile, General Petraeus has decided to clarify his statements about Israel's policies endangering the lives of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  According to Haaretz,
Petraeus told reporters yesterday that the report, which he claimed had been taken out of context, had been drafted because "...there was a perception at times that America sides with Israel and so forth. And I mean, that is a perception. It is there. I don't think that's disputable.

"But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it," he added. "And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly."
Add to this
  • a report yesterday that US arms-makers have made another multi-billion dollar deal with the IDF
  • the line of US senators and congressmen who lined up for the appropriate kowtowing at the recently concluded AIPAC conference
  • the prominence of Christian Zionists at that conference - a group whose zealotry about Israel no politician in his/her right mind can take on these days without likely fatal repercussions at the ballot box . . . .
and it's obvious that Obama can push back only so hard against Netanyahu without his support crumbling in Congress.  Obama has pushed back about as hard as he can.  But nothing has really come of it.

The "peace process" is going nowhere.  The "two-state solution" is toast - Netanyahu really doesn't want to stop settlement building, in either the West Bank or Jerusalem; politically, he couldn't do so without committing political suicide.  Christian Zionists don't want him to stop, don't want the US to stop him, and could vote out of office too many of Obama's supporters if they chose to back him in a consistently tougher stance.

And as long as the US insists on its commitment to Israel's security, Netanyahu - or anyone else who might succeed him - knows he has, ultimately, time on his side.

In the end, the US will do nothing to bring about a truly just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.  It's up to the rest of the world.

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