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June 10, 2009

US-Israel Relations Still Crumbling

And it's getting worse. First with the petty, commentators in Israel are angry at this photograph, released by the White House, which shows the President on the phone with PM Netanyahu:

It is an insult in the Middle East to show the sole of your shoe to someone and the Israelis are seeing the photo in context with Obama's withdrawl of support and threats as a big FU.

Second, and speaking of threats, this is more serious than a shoe insult:

Israel's Channel One TV reported that Netanyahu was told Tuesday by an "American official" in Jerusalem that, "We are going to change the world. Please, don't interfere." The report said Netanyahu's aides interpreted this as a "threat."

The message could not be any clearer: "that's a nice country you got there. It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it."

I don't even have the words to say how shameful Obama's treatment of our allies has been. But this is more horrifying than merely irritating our coalition partners; it goes beyond destroying our special relationship with the UK. Those are bad things, but this is beyond the pale. He is throwing a good people to the wolves. It sickens me.

Some Israelis are now preparing for Obama to make good on his threats. Minister-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled, who is not a far-right fire-breather, has circulated a letter suggesting that Israel be ready to sanction the U.S.

Peled added that faced with an American government with an activist agenda that does not mesh with Israel's, traditional reactions are no longer relevant. He said he expected that Obama would eventually realize that appeasement and dialogue with countries that support terror would not have positive results.

But in the interim, the minister suggests reconsidering military and civilian purchases from the US, selling sensitive equipment that the Washington opposes distributing internationally, and allowing other countries that compete with the US to get involved with the peace process and be given a foothold for their military forces and intelligence agencies.

"We must make every effort to maintain our relationship with the US and I respect Obama, but Israel has its own interests and we have to know what our alternatives are," Peled said. "I don't think what I suggest is vengeful. I just think that even a superpower must behave like a partner."

PM Netanyahu has a speech on Sunday, which is being viewed as a response to Obama's message in Cairo. I think his coalition gives him almost no choice but to respond in kind to the President's refusal to negotiate on settlements.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:12 PM

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