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Israel: Obama Shows His Teeth, Netanyahu Steps Back?

On Friday, President Obama did not hold back in condemning the humiliation caused to Vice President Joe Biden with the Israeli announcement of 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. He issued a stern warning to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that he take "specific actions" to show he is "committed" to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to the peace process. (The contents of the ultimatum and the list of demands have not been revealed by Washington.)

Israel-Palestine: Petraeus’ Intervention Shakes Up US Policy?

On Sunday at his weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called the approval of the construction of new housing units in East Jerusalem as a "harmful" incident that "should not have happened". He said:

There was a regrettable incident here that occurred innocently.

We opened the newspapers this morning and read all kinds of commentary and assumptions regarding the crisis with the US. I recommend not to get carried away and to calm down.

However, he did not give any signal about the Palestinian demand for the cancelation of this approval. Instead, he said that he had appointed a committee to investigate the events leading up to the decision to ensure that this did not happen again.

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building committee has canceled two meetings planned for this week, since any more decisions on construction might result in further tensions with the United States. (The Interior Ministry has said that the meetings were canceled due to technical reasons.)

Meanwhile, Washington claims Netanyahu's hand is getting weaker with current partners. A US official said yesterday that the Israeli leader's rightist coalition leaves him in a "perilous" situation. For instance, Ze'ev Elkin from Likud urged Netanyahu not to deviate from his policy on East Jerusalem construction, saying Israel must keep the capital undivided and under its sovereignty.

Elsewhere, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday evening signed an order to extend a security lockdown in the West Bank to prevent Palestinians entering Jerusalem after a weekend of protests and rioting in the city.

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    EA WorldView - Archives: March 2010 - Israel: Obama Shows His Teeth, Netanyahu Steps Back?

Reader Comments (23)

That area of the world may never get along.

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Miller

we as a nation should not demand ISRAEL to comply with our policies,palestine,
has had ample time to be a free indepenant state,we can not,and must not be,
involved in the fray between the two anti-love your neighboring people.

we have way to many things to do in our own country., so be the nation we are,
not the patsy for other political parties not helping us here at home with our need's.

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwilliam james gunn

Ali -

Looks like perhaps the predictions in our discussion a few weeks ago may come true??

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

Terry, Let's not revise history here.

"That part of the world" was living in a much more peaceful condition compared to Europe until the British and later our US government sent in their militaries to secure their oil interests.

William, I agree that we should not be interfering in other countries matters. But we have been doing that in the middle east at least since the start of Israel's occupation of its neighbors' lands 60 years ago.

If we wanted to butt out we could start by not sending $4 Billion of our tax money to Israel every year. Guess what we could do at home with $4 Billion. Isn't that adding to our budget deficit?

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCameron

Israel is a danger to itself and to its neighbours. They are holding more than 200 nuclear bombs and the leadership is racist and xenophobic. We should be more worried about their nuclear arsenal then Irans pitiful attempts at enrichment.

They send out assasination teams to take out their opponents. Remember the First World War started after the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand. this is not the way of dealing with your enemies in the 21st Century.

At least now America is keeping Israel in check but America is fast loosing its position as the premier power and then I fear there will be nobody around to keep this menace in check.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbraham

@Abraham -

Given the lack of disclosure by the Obama administration regarding the list of demands, for the time being this reads simply as a warning not to embarass US officials and not a declaration to adhere to the promises made regarding settlement freezing. I have concern that the US will actually hold Israel to its committments. While Obama's statement is a sign that he may be willing to confront Netanyahu, it is still to be seen the measures he is willing to take and whether Netanyahu, as eluded to in the Haaretz article will chose to act in a way to preserve the relationship with the US or adhere to internal pressures/demands.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

4 billion a year in tax money! If an American owes the IRS they will come after you right beyond the grave. America is falling down like the mighty Rome of the ancient past. 4 billion of our taxes going to a foreign country while Americans survive verily on unemployment, foodstamps, the banks take our houses, our dollar is losing value so fast we wonder is it worth the paper it is printed on and we are sending them 4 billion a year! Our veterans returning from active duty retrun home only to discover there are no jobs and they might as well stayed in the military where at least they got fed, medical and had a roof over there head. We have so many problems at home and we are sending 4 billion a year to a foreign country. Why does our government think we have to police the entire world. Clean up our own act first.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Denise, you can start by asking your representatives who have approved this for decades. Then think about how the recent Supreme Court ruling that takes away all restrictions on businesses funding "your" representatives election campaigns will affect their next election. The rich and the corporations will get to decide who is elected even more than they do today.

Public funding for elections will even the playing field and brings some level of ethics back to politicians.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCameron

@ Bijan

Yes, You are right, we have seen what we predicted from Washington.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli Yenidunya

Serves as a confirmation of your reporting and analysis. Nice work Ali.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

As much as I don't like the lables of "Xenophobic" and "Racist" often thrown out with abandon from some here I do agree Israel must be held accountable. The settlements must stop but so must the canard of labeling Israel certain terms as some like to do here. For those not in the know Israel is the only state in the region who has a growing Muslim, Jewish, and Christian population all under one roof. If they were racist how on the world could they let this happen. The fact remains the majority of Islamic nations are religious apartheid states. The dramatic reduction of the Christian population in the Middle East(except for Egypt) clearly shows this. You might also want to look up what a Dhimmi is to find out the basis for these religious apartheid laws that either ban or severly restrict non Islamic faiths. Israel doesn't ban the Bahai like Iran does nor does it ban all religions like Saudia Arabia. Fault Israel for its awful policies but not Xenophobia or racism. At the end of the day Israel is the only functioning democracy(the protects full religious freedom) in a democracy free zone.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill


"At the end of the day Israel is the only functioning democracy(the protects full religious freedom) in a democracy free zone."

Shucks Bill - you shouldn't go saying something like that here!! :)


March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry


1. I can also post all kinds of positive but irrelevant data to make other countries in the region look better than they are. Persians where the ones who wrote the first Human Rights document guranteeing freedom of religion 2500 years ago...but how does that justify how they are treating their own citizens today? After all its warnings about the number of muslims who have not been driven out of their homes (yet), should Israel take credit for the fact that they have more children than their jewish counterparts?

2. I don't think our goal should be to pick the queen of the pigs...if it was, maybe we would pick Israel! Instead, at least in my case, the goal is to hold every government accountable for its own actions.

Israel from its very birth has been responsible for numerous mass killings with the sole objective of driving out the existing population and replace them with their preferred European (and later American, Russian, etc.) jews.

So yes although every country in the region has its hands covered with its citizens blood, Israel is the only whose crimes are primarily continued as a result of my taxes propping them up. I felt the same way when Syria took control of the Christian parts of Lebanon.

Of course pretty much every country in the world condemned Syria but a completely different set of rules is applied when Israel is the culprit.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCameron


I know I am itching for beating for posting that but none the less it is largely true. I say that respective to what is inside Israel though and probably should have noted it. Their treatment of the Pals is entirely a different issue that have many issue with. But again that issue has two sides keeping the conflict alive an well.


March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I wasn't sure where to post this link - and as this thread title says something about "Obama showing his teeth" - and also as some here are fond of unsubstantiated allegations, I thought that this little titbit coming out of a Scottish newspaper would make interesting reading for the conspiracy theorists here


March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

I like the last line of the article

"The US Department of Defence did not respond to a request for a comment."


March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry


As i noted to Barry I should have qualified my post by explaining I meant within Israel proper. The situation with the Pals is an entirely different story and one that I am against. The Jews of all people should know that oppression and occuption don't work. It's sort of like the abused kid abusing his kids later on in life. My general retort was in regards to labeling Israel Xenophobic and Racists categorically.

I also agree my arguement without qualifying it was sort of like "electing the queen of pigs." Great play on words I must say. I also agree with much of what you said but I don't believe Israel was soley focused on driving all the pals out. If that were the case they would have done it because they have the power to do it. Not that it has happened but just that it is not a central policy of Israel otherwise the Arab Muslims would be growing exponentially in Israel. On the other hand once Israel became a state the Jews, close to 800,000 them, were exiled from most Arab states. Again were picking the queen of the pigs though! :) God if we all couldn't find a way to just get along. Aggh such frustration!!!


March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Thanks Bill.

Regarding the link news item, I can believe all of it except why would the US hire a shipping compay to ship its weapons around the world?

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCameron

Cuba wants US sanctions re-instated - now this is an unusual twist.


March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

RE “The US Department of Defence did not respond to a request for a comment.”

Ha-ha!! And I'm very surprised Press TV hasn't picked up on this yet. How sloppy ;-)
But wasn't Diego Garcia also used for some of that nasty CIA rendition activity? Seems like if you're going to stash an arsenal for doing the dirty on another country, Diego Garcia IS the place.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Barry - you're on a roll: 'Cuba wants US sanctions re-instated' :-)
Obviously, the last thing the Castros want is the lifting of the embargo and the travel ban on Americans without family in Cuba - that would spell the end of the regime in a week!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

QUOTING CAMERON -- 1. I can also post all kinds of positive but irrelevant data to make other countries in the region look better than they are. Persians where the ones who wrote the first Human Rights document guranteeing freedom of religion 2500 years ago…"


The Persian-speaking peoples haven't produced a great thinker since Mani.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave, I'm sure others could name quite a few great Persian thinkers since Mani. But since I'm not a nationalist or racist I don't really care.

To me every human invention and thought builds upon previous ones and therefore we can all take pride in humanity's great accomplishments and share in the blame of its shortcomings.

I personally look forward to the day when all national borders follow the eventual end of the tribal borders and just reside in history books.

As the great Persian philosopher/poet Saadi's poem on the UN building reads: “Human beings are members of a whole, In creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, Other members uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, The name of human you cannot retain.”


March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCameron

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