Marc Tracy notices the uncanny parallels between now and March:
Biden visit; housing announcement; U.S. pushback. In March, Prime Minister Netanyahu retorted with the defiant declaration: “Jerusalem is not a settlement”; yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu retorted with the defiant declaration: … I’ll just let you guess.
There is an aggressive assumption by Netanyahu that all of Jerusalem is unequivocally Israel's, which all but rules out any viable two-state solution (as, one suspects, it is designed to). But instead of resisting this, a classic AJE member, Aaron David Miller, emits this contemptuous remark:
“Building in Jerusalem is as natural as breathing.”
Really? For whom? For those Palestinians who are evicted or see their neighborhoods transformed by a government obviously intent on ethnic social engineering in occupied lands? East Jerusalem, in any case, is not the real obstacle, since Israel's government just permitted a thousand new homes in Ariel, way past the green lines in the West Bank, sabotaging any chance of negotiations, and all but telling the US (and the rest of the world) to go pull a Cheney. The next step will be Netanyahu's meeting with secretary of state Clinton tomorrow.
I remain of the view that Netanyahu believes
he can wait out Obama and get a Republican US president prepared to enable Israel in its doomed occupation (past the point of no return) and eager to bomb Iran as some kind of global power-move.
The mid-terms will only have reinforced that presumption. For that reason, I think it's clear that talks will fail because the Israelis and their supporters have no desire to see them succeed, and now also believe that the US needs them more than they need the US. The response to this should be at some point soon to end the attempt to get both sides to agree, establish the partition that the US believes is the best solution, and move to the UN, bypassing Israel altogether. When you see the much broader and wider challenges to US global power, and the albatross that Israel's occupation places on America's ability to pursue its legitimate interests elsewhere (even Indonesia regards a two-state solution as the core evidence of the US's genuineness in reaching out to the moderate Muslim world), you realize what a burden the Israel alliance is placing on the US.