Israeli prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu is putting all his eggs in one basket in the crisis he created with the United States. He's betting that he can wear down the Obama administration's insistance that the building of the 1600 housing units in East Jerusalem be put a brake on, and is counting on the US Congress and American public opinion, to back him up.
He may be barking up the wrong tree. President Obama [BHO] spoke the hard truth to Mr. Netenyahu during his 2 day star turn in Washington to address the powerful American Israeli Political Action Committe [AIPAC]. BHO didn't mince words, but they were wasted on Mr. Netenyahu who has the 'Torah' and God on his side!
The announcement of expanded building of housing in East Jerusalem, which Israel claims as a birthright, but international begs to differ 'de facto' and 'de jure', came immediately on the heels of vice president Joseph Biden's clear, strong words of support of the Zionist state. Biden, as we call, came to Israel to give CRP to the limp, dying body of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He is one of the most stauch and housebroken cheer leaders of Israel in the American government. His 'devotion' got him nothing but a slap in the face, and the press release coming out of the Israeli prime minister's office following Biden's speech effectively poured cold war on the American initiative for indirect talks.
It was quite clear that Israel has no intention in allowing the birth of a Palestinian state unless it's an emasculated satrap, or if it has enough time to gobble up Palestinian territory illegally by implanting settlements.
Mr. Netenyahu has misread BHO. His insult to the US has stirred quiescent currents in the Pentagon and the State Department. General Petreus, with the approval of his boss Admiral Mullen, appeared before the Senate Armed Services committe. He spoke of the unreliability of Israel as an ally in the Middle East and Central and South Asia, as it pertains to US goals. Remarkably in his 'tour de horizon' of west Asia, he included Hamas.
In another underreported bit of news in the US media, at a conference in Doha, a US representative had talks with Hamas in the corridors. Now that's an important development, one which should put Israel on notice.
But Israel is threatening again invading Gaza, to forestall and scotch any moves towards a Palestinian state.
The Obama administration, it appears, is dusting off a ploy George HW Bush used 20 years ago. It is sending mild but readable signals that it might not extend uncritical, complete support in the UN. Such a move would surely bring a condemnation of Israel. The Obama administration may even go the extra step in abstaining the next time the UN Human Rights Commission has a resolution condemning Israel for not implementing the recommendations of the Goldstone Report on investigating the crimes of war committed against the civilian population of Gaza by the 'Tsahal' or Israel Defence Force [IDF].
Mr. Netenyahu is tone deaf to these signals. He is banking on the Israeli street lack of trust of Mr. Obama, especially after the US president's speech in Cairo which was well received in the Arab and Muslim world.
Such a reaction is proof positive that a strong current of Israeli public feeling consider Palestinians inferior and unworthy as a partner in negotiations. Such attitudes simply mirror the anti Semitism rife in Europe a century ago. Mr. Netenyahu & co., to sustain such opinion, can do no better than the poster on the walls of Jerusalem. We see a photo of Mr. Obama head bowed receiving a medal from the Saudi king or a Trucial state emir, with a big print warning in Hebrew: 'Beware of a PLO spy in the White House'.
Mr. Netenyahu & co. are playing with fire and will surely get their fingers burnt. They forget Israel is an American protectorate and the only friend they have in the Middle East is America. Without US backing, it will be left to its own devices, suffer diplomatic, economic, and deep psychological damages.