Her position helps clear up another reason why so many of us were terrified last year  that she might get her hands near a nuclear button, thanks to John McCain. Since Obama took office, the White House has for the first time in many, many years actually tried seriously to get Israel to stop engaging in daily provocation of the people they will one day have to make peace with by stopping settlement construction. The Israeli government, contemptuous of the new administration, has given the US the finger again.

Today, in an even more brazen act of anti-American defiance, we read this:

The cornerstone-laying ceremony at Nof Zion took place a day after the Israeli authorities moved ahead with plans for the expansion of Gilo, a Jewish residential district in south Jerusalem also on land captured in the 1967 war. The plans for 900 more housing units drew a sharp rebuke from the White House.

The contempt for the US president and contempt for the Palestinians is revealed in this Goldblog email:

Gilo is so much a part of the Israeli consensus that even a Meretz member of the Jerusalem City Council told Army Radio this morning that it is integral part of Jerusalem and that Israel has every right to build there.

The criterion here is not what America might think, or the Palestinians might think, but just where the Israeli consensus is. That's all that matters - even to American commentators. And all this is designed, of course, to prevent any future two-state solution.

Those who say they are for a two-state solution also somehow always find a reason why, in this case, the US should bow to Israel again. Take my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg who - surprise! - writes this:

It doesn't matter, then, if the Israelis build 900 housing units in Gilo or 900 skyscrapers: Gilo will be kept by Israel in exchange for a one-to-one land swap with Palestine. All "settlements" are not created equal: Better for the Obama Administration to talk tough to Israel about the settlements ringing Nablus, for instance, because these are communities whose existence makes it impossible to create a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.

But why should we tolerate any such settlements? Why should we continue to enable the Israelis' persistent desire to seize more Palestinian land, evict more Palestinian families, and create yet more facts on the ground that make any final deal more and more outside our reach? The settlements are a constant humiliation for the Palestinians, they inflame Arab opinion, and these actions have been designed in part to humiliate Obama and show the Arab world who really dictates the boundaries of US foreign policy in the Middle East. It isn't the president of the United States.

Things are bad enough with Obama, whose humiliation at the hands of a thrilled Netanyahu is not unnoticed across Europe and the Middle East. But imagine - just imagine - if John McCain had been elected, had fallen ill, and we had his beloved Sarah Palin in the White House. Right now.

WIth Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney at her side, we'd get this:

PALIN: I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don’t think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.

WALTERS: Even if it’s [in] Palestinian areas?

PALIN: I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expand.

If you'd ever wondered why Kristol has tried to put this know-nothing whack-job in the White House, you know now.