Fred Kaplan gives us a brief reality check:
It is worth noting, for instance, that every nation or international entity that has taken a position on the issueexcept for Israelregards East Jerusalem, at least formally, as "occupied territory." Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, but no other country recognized the move. U.N. Resolution 478, passed soon after, declared the annexation to be in violation of international law and thus "null and void." (The Security Council passed the resolution with no dissent; even the United States merely abstained.)
And he gets why Obama must not, cannot back down:
U.S. envoy George Mitchell was on the verge of starting "indirect" talks between Israelis and Palestinians, shuttling between the two, at least initially. The talks were quietly supported by Saudi Arabia, whose rulers want to check the regional ambitions of Iran, which uses (and supplies) Hezbollah and Hamas as its surrogates. A convergence of interests between Israel and Arab moderatesamong whom can be numbered Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyadwould tilt the regional balance away from Iran. This tilt could help in the campaign to stop Iran from getting nuclear weaponsand perhaps solidify support for U.S. and NATO policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, this entire chain depends on one critical link: the appearance of a genuine and promising movement toward an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. For their own standing in the rest of the Arab world and among their own potentially volatile populations no Arab country can afford to get too cozy with the United States, and especially not with Israel, as long as that link is severed.
By continuing to expand in East Jerusalem, the Israeli government's leaders demonstrate that they are not interested in a real peace.
And until they are, the US's interests globally are threatened. This is where the rubber hits the road. If AIPAC wants to use this weekend to pretend nothing has changed or that this is somehow Obama's fault, or that we can continue on fighting Jihadism while they keep polarizing the Muslim world, then they need an attitude adjustment. When you've lost your European allies, Turkey, and the US president, Cllnton, Emanuel and Biden, you need to realize you've become your own worst enemy.
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