US newspapers also go head-to-head regarding the crisis between the US and Israel over the cabinet's approval of 1,600 housing units in east Jerusalem during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit. Leading political journalists in the US fall on opposite sides of the fence in their opinions of the affair.
The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed Monday scathingly criticizing well-known New York Times' journalist Thomas Friedman's assault on Israel published Sunday.
Friedman wrote that upon receiving notice of the east Jerusalem construction, Biden "should have snapped his notebook shut, gotten right back on Air Force Two, flown home and left the following scribbled note behind: 'Message from America to the Israeli government: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And right now, you’re driving drunk. You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences? You have lost total contact with reality. Call us when you’re serious.'"
"Israel needs a wake-up call. Continuing to build settlements in the West Bank, and even housing in disputed east Jerusalem, is sheer madness… Israel’s planned housing expansion now raises questions about whether Israel will ever be willing to concede a Palestinian capital in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem — a big problem," wrote Friedman.
Our friends are being disrespected
In response, the Wall Street Journal op-ed wrote that the Obama administration "has endorsed 'healthy relations' between Iran and Syria, mildly rebuked Syrian President Bashar Assad for accusing the US of 'colonialism,' and publicly apologized to Muammar Gadhafi for treating him with less than appropriate deference after the Libyan called for 'a jihad' against Switzerland."
However, when it comes to Israel, "the administration has no trouble rising to a high pitch of public indignation," wrote the article entitled "Obama's Turn Against Israel."
Not even "repeated apologies from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prevented Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—at what White House sources ostentatiously said was the personal direction of President Obama—from calling the announcement 'an insult to the United States,'" stated the opinion piece.
"Since nobody is defending the Israeli announcement, least of all an obviously embarrassed Israeli government, it's difficult to see why the Administration has chosen this occasion to spark a full-blown diplomatic crisis with its most reliable Middle Eastern ally… If Israel senses that the Administration is looking for any pretext to blow up relations, it will care much less how the US might react to a military strike on Iran.'
The financial newspaper took an opposite stance on West Bank settlements than that adopted by the Obama administration: "As for the West Bank settlements, it is increasingly difficult to argue that their existence is the key obstacle to a peace deal with the Palestinians. Israel withdrew all of its settlements from Gaza in 2005, only to see the Strip transform itself into a Hamas statelet and a base for continuous rocket fire against Israeli civilians."
"This episode does fit Mr. Obama's foreign policy pattern to date: Our enemies get courted; our friends get the squeeze. It has happened to Poland, the Czech Republic, Honduras and Colombia. Now it's Israel's turn," quipped the Wall Street Journal.