The Obama administration clearly opposes Israeli settlement growth in the Palestinian territories. So when Israeli officials announced new settlements just moments before Vice President Biden's visit to Israel, and again before Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with President Obama, it further chilled the U.S.-Israel relationship. The always-vibrant Israeli media is abuzz over the strained alliance. Here's what they're saying.
- Netanyahu 'Disgraced, Isolated and Weaker' Haaretz's Aluf Benn shakes his head. "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," he writes. "Netanyahu will need to work hard to rehabilitate his image, knowing full well that Obama will not relent, but instead demand that he stop zigzagging and decide, once and for all, whether he stands with America or with the settlers."
- Israelis Blame Obama, Despite Our Media Self-proclaimed "Ultra-Orthodox" blogger Carl in Jerusalem explains, "But before everyone assumes that Israel is blaming Netanyahu for what happened, please remember that the Israeli media hates Netanyahu and most of them cannot be trusted to give an objective account of who is at fault." He adds, "My sense is that while Israelis are upset about what happened, they are unified on Jerusalem, and that it's Obama who is being seen as mostly to blame when it comes to the substance of the issues."
- This Is Nothing New Haaretz's Avi Isaacharof writes, "There was never any real pressure - but the American demand in principle to cease construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is long-standing. In fact, all American governments have made the same demand of all Israeli governments, apart from on one occasion: The letter of understanding penned by former U.S. president George W. Bush that recognizes the principle of settlement blocs."
- The Real Difference of Opinion It's all about where the Palestinian leadership stands, writes the Jerusalem Post. "The Israel-US dispute may have exploded over 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo, it may be rumbling on viciously around the incendiary wider issue of any and all Israeli building in east Jerusalem, but it is essentially rooted in this stark difference of perception between Jerusalem and Washington as to the Palestinian Authority’s peace-making readiness and intentions."