The prime minister leaves America disgraced, isolated, and altogether weaker than when he came. Instead of setting the diplomatic agenda, Netanyahu surrendered control over it. Instead of leaving the Palestinian issue aside and focusing on Iran, as he would like, Netanyahu now finds himself fighting for the legitimacy of Israeli control over East Jerusalem.
And yes, the passage of healthcare seems to have emboldened Obama with respect to Netanyahu:
The revolution in the Americans' behavior is clear to all. On Sunday morning Obama was still anxiously looking ahead to the House of Representatives vote on health care - the last thing he wanted was a last-minute disagreement with congressmen over ties with Israel.
The moment the bill was passed, however, a victorious Obama was free to deal with his unruly guest.
The Americans made every effort to downplay the visit. As during his last visit in November, Netanyahu was invited to the White House at a late hour, without media coverage or a press conference. If that were not enough, the White House spokesman challenged Netanyahu's observation at AIPAC that "Jerusalem is not a settlement."
The Americans didn't even wait for him to leave Washington to make their disagreement known. It was not the behavior Washington shows an ally, but the kind it shows an annoyance.
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