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Netanyahu (L) with Biden last week Photo: Gil Yohanan
Netanyahu (L) with Biden last week Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

A blessing in disguise

Moshe Dann pleased that Biden, Clinton emerged from Obama's closet hatred of Israel

Moshe Dann
Published: 03.15.10, 00:44 / Israel Opinion

If delusion is one of the most dangerous pitfalls of diplomacy, then, paradoxically, recent criticism of Israel by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a blessing in disguise.

 

Condemning a routine announcement of Israeli plans to build a new neighborhood in Jerusalem, Biden fired the first shot. Clinton added that "it was not only an insult to Biden, but an insult to the United States."

 

Such fiery attacks on Israel are sharp contrasts to pledges of love and loyalty, rhetoric meant to anesthetize Israelis against the reality of American policy and intentions.

 

We should all breathe a sigh of relief, not only that these agents of PLO policies – that Jerusalem is negotiable – have left, but that it's out in the open.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu avoided the first salvo by excusing and apologizing for the "untimely" announcement. Actually, the timing was perfect. It exposed the real purpose of Biden's visit and President Barack Hussein Obama's direction.

 

But Netanyahu cannot avoid Clinton's pot shots, which struck at the spinal nerve of the relationship between Israel and the US. As she put it, this was not a dispute over policy, but a deliberate attempt to humiliate the United States of America.

 

It was not the planned official dedication of a square and monument in Ramallah – during Biden's visit - to a terrorist who had murdered Israelis that offended Ms. Clinton, but plans to build apartments for Jews.

 

Concessions a display of weakness

Supporters of Israel should rejoice that Biden and Clinton have emerged from Obama's closet hatred of Israel. Their wild attack, as deadly as it seemed initially, however, did little or no damage. It clears the way for a robust Israeli response, one that will set the course of Israeli policy and the guidelines of future discussions.

 

PM Netanyahu now has the opportunity to defend Israel's position, not only on Jerusalem, but other issues of Israeli sovereignty that have been disputed. This includes the right to decide on what Jewish heritage sites include and the right to preserve those historical and archeological sites, the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, and the right of self-defense.

 

Unfortunately, however, Netanyahu brought this upon himself when he unilaterally declared a building freeze against Jews. Had this been conditioned on Arab Palestinian compliance, or compromise, it might have been justified. Instead, it simply escalated Arab demands and postponed negotiations.

 

Moreover, unilateral Israeli concessions, especially on vital, core issues, are a display of Israeli weakness. That policy must be reconsidered in light of what has resulted.

 

The author is a writer and journalist in Jerusalem

 

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