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Latest update : 2010-03-16

Cooling in Israel-US relations ‘was predictable’

Roger Cohen writing in today’s International Herald Tribune says he had predicted the cooling of Israel-US relations seen in the past week, sparked by the East Jerusalem housing conflict. TUESDAY, 16th MARCH, 2010

Is Joe Biden simply “the nice guy who wandered into a mess and revealed the truth,” as Roger Cohen implies in today's International Herald Tribune? The current dispute between Israel and the US was sparked by an announcement of the construction of 1,600 housing units for Orthodox Jews in mainly Arab East Jerusalem, this during a visit by Joe Biden to the region. Yet perhaps the diplomatic cooling between the two countries was predictable.
 
“Over the past decade the US has been facilitating settlements by pouring 28.9 billion dollars into Israel,” Cohen says, despite the declared goal of a two-state solution. “This strategic goal has been undermined by America’s own blank-check diplomacy…Goodbye to all that.”
 
The New York Times columnist says Obama is furious over the perceived provocation of the housing announcement. David Axelwood and Hillary Clinton both lambasted the move as ‘an insult ‘and ‘very very destructive’ and this means that Obama himself thinks the same.
 
The dispute reveals that Netanyahu wants things to stay as they are and that he has been “toying with Obama”.
 
“Israel has misread a core strategic shift of the Obama presidency away from the with-us-or-against-us rhetoric of the war on terror towards a rapprochement with the Muslim world as the basis for isolating terrorists.
 
Cohen says you can’t have this rapprochement if US policy is susceptible to the far-right in Israel which has no interest in a two-state peace.
 
Other articles in today’s international papers:
 
Haaretz: Jerusalem on high alert after Hamas announces ‘day of rage’
 
Jerusalem Post: Police set for stormy Tuesday in capital
 
Wall Street Journal: EU power centers diverge over bailing out Greece
 
La Tribune: When the Rhine grows wider
 
China Daily: Does your loved one miss the dog more than you?

By James CREEDON

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