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Defiant Netanyahu Plays his Jerusalem Card
ips ^ | Jul 23, 2009 | Analysis by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler

Posted on 07/23/2009 10:52:34 AM PDT by Cinnamon Girl

JERUSALEM, Jul 23 (IPS) - Israel's newly installed ambassador in Washington says the "disagreement" with the U.S. over Israel's settlement policy will be resolved "soon". Speaking on Israel Radio, Michael Oren was giving his first interview since taking up his post.

His upbeat assessment is challenged by many other Israeli officials and by most political pundits who foresee the U.S. and Israel being on collision course. With the EU and Russia following suit.

Defining Israel's 'settlement policy' is the nub: Does it include also occupied East Jerusalem?

A low-key U.S. demand for Israel to scrap a plan for a new Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem is the latest tussle since U.S. President Barack Obama shifted the diplomatic ground dramatically when he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at their May meeting that all settlement construction had to stop because otherwise his plan to resuscitate peace moves between Israel and the Arab world would be blocked.

At the end of last week the State Department summoned Ambassador Oren to tell him the U.S. wants plans by a controversial Jewish U.S. entrepreneur, Irving Moskowitz, to knock down an old hotel and instead build houses for Jewish settlers in the heart of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, to be frozen too. Moskowitz, who raises funds for contentious settlement projects through a "charity" bingo hall in California, received planning permission for the project earlier this month.

Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Russia have all lodged similar protests over the Shepherd Hotel project, but Netanyahu is focused on the row with the U.S. It's almost as if he is the one spoiling, if not for a fight, then at least for a squabble with Obama.

And, as Israeli-U.S. relations head to their lowest ebb in two decades, it could well get worse: a settler front group called Elad (also backed by Moskowitz) has filed with the Jerusalem municipality for approval for four new building projects that are designed to settle more Jews in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods. City Hall sources say it's unlikely the plans will be thrown out, adding more fuel to the flames of a growing rift between Israel and the international community.

Both sides seem ready to up the ante. The U.S. wants to be credible to the Arab world while Netanyahu wants to be credible to Israelis.

When the issue was raised by State Department officials they made it crystal clear that when the President had talked about curbing settlements he meant it to include East Jerusalem, the part of the city which Israel conquered in 1967 and which it annexed as part of its "united and eternal capital."

But, shifting the argument from the West Bank to Jerusalem was precisely what Netanyahu was looking for. There was a positive glint in his eye when, at Sunday's weekly Israeli cabinet meeting, he tore apart the U.S. strictures: "We simply cannot accept that Jews aren't entitled to live or to buy apartments anywhere in Jerusalem," said the Prime Minister.

When he went on, "I told the President that I could not accept any restrictions on our sovereignty in Jerusalem - Jerusalem is not a settlement, so there is nothing to discuss about a freeze there," it was music to the ears of most Israelis.

When Netanyahu lined up with the world's insistence that he accept the principle of a two-state solution with the Palestinians, he knew that, on that issue, the U.S. administration and the bulk of the Israeli public were on the same side. While banking on another Israeli consensus - on Jerusalem - he's ready to take the President on.

Israelis, who balk at Obama's demand on concrete issues such as settlements, don't much like what they consider the President's moral hectoring either. More importantly, though, they begin to sense, like their Prime Minister, that the Obama approach may just not succeed and that his much-heralded Cairo speech to the Arab and Muslim world will soon be deflated.

The current row over Jerusalem is the first indication that Netanyahu is recovering from the "shock and awe" of their rather confrontational White House encounter. And Israeli officials seem have recovered their confidence that, unless there is substantial parallel movement from the Arab side, Israel will be able to parry the threat of naked U.S. pressure.

Last week at the White House, the President met for the first time with 15 heads of leading U.S. Jewish organisations. He told them that, as he had done in Cairo, he planned to speak openly and honestly with Israel. The President told the Jewish leaders he wants "to help Israel overcome its demographic problem by reaching an agreement on a two-state solution," but that, in order to do so, Israel would need "to engage in serious self-reflection."

In the Obama scheme, self-reckoning on all sides is the key.

Israelis balk at that. Arab unwillingness to come to terms to Israel's existence is the heart of the matter, they contend. When Obama mentioned the Holocaust in Cairo, they applauded politely, but were infuriated by his read on the creation of Israel - "a distortion," they complained. They resent what they say is his disregard of the link between the Jewish people and their historical homeland going back to Biblical times; in the words of a senior official in the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "Cairo was, sadly, a huge missed opportunity to get the Arab world to accept that we have a rightful place here."

Israelis are also irritated by the President's preaching tone. "His rapprochement plan towards Iran which openly threatens to destroy Israel and his bid to reassure its fanatic leadership is delusional," writes veteran columnist Yoel Marcus in Ha'aretz.

He goes on: "There is something naïve, not to say infuriating, about his rapprochement policy and the whistle stops he has chosen on his travels to deal with our conflict: he spoke in Turkey, he spoke in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Ghana, in Paris. The only place where he hasn't been as President is Israel. He speaks about us, but not to us."

Interestingly, as this settlement row between the U.S. and Israel expands, and the diplomatic quagmire over it deepens, it's not just Israelis who are irked by Obama. Reflecting on the Marcus complaint, one Palestinian cabinet minister, who preferred not to be named, told IPS, "It's much worse with us. The settlements, after all, are on our land, and he's talking not to us about our future, but to the Israelis about us." (END/2009)


TOPICS: Extended News; Israel
KEYWORDS: arabsquatters; bibi; bibinetanyahu; constructionfreeze; israel; jerusalem; netanyahu


1 posted on 07/23/2009 10:52:35 AM PDT by Cinnamon Girl
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To: Cinnamon Girl

In a pissing match between a real man and a pansy, I’m gonna go out on a limb and take the real man.


2 posted on 07/23/2009 10:54:31 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: BARLF; jazminerose; Kiss7; NordP; Big_Monkey; Patriot Babe; conservative cat; 444Flyer; ...

Days ahead of the upcoming meeting with the Obama team, Bibi’s laying down the law.


3 posted on 07/23/2009 10:55:37 AM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (G-d Bless President Bush. He kept us safe.)
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Bibi knows Obama is a coward.


4 posted on 07/23/2009 10:57:28 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Hurray for Netanyahu. There is nothing phoney about him.


5 posted on 07/23/2009 11:02:53 AM PDT by dvan (Send Them Home!)
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To: Republic of Texas

Bump for real man!


6 posted on 07/23/2009 11:05:07 AM PDT by momincombatboots (The last experience of the sinner is the horrible enslavement of the freedom he desired. -C.S. Lewis)
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Those photo need good captions on it I can’t wait till Bibi meet Obama again LOL!


7 posted on 07/23/2009 11:05:49 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us, resistence is futile")
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To: Republic of Texas

Me too. Unfortunately our representative is a little boy in mom’s jeans.


8 posted on 07/23/2009 11:15:49 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Always put your faith in God first, never in the O and never in the State Department.

Pray, work, keep a smile on your face and keep a bullet in the chamber.


9 posted on 07/23/2009 11:18:06 AM PDT by marron
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Bi Bi we love you. Why don’t you run for president of the United States? We don’t require birth certificates any longer.


10 posted on 07/23/2009 11:21:25 AM PDT by Bitsy
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Don’t yah love watching REAL men in action ;-) ?


11 posted on 07/23/2009 11:32:04 AM PDT by NordP ("....He pulls a knife, U pull a gun. He sends 1 of urs 2 hosp U send his 2 morgue = Chicago Way")
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To: NordP
Especially smoking hot men.


12 posted on 07/23/2009 12:36:31 PM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (G-d Bless President Bush. He kept us safe.)
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To: Cinnamon Girl
Defiant Netanyahu Plays his Jerusalem Card

The choice of wording in that head line sounded an alarm for me. So I dug around for a couple of minutes about what is "IPS". Here's what I found:

"Special Unit for South-South Cooperation within the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP)"

Controlled by the muslim world through the UN, once you dig deep enough.

The red flag was the phrase Jerusalem Card, to associate it with "race card", "homosexual card," and other activists, most of which are moonbat groups demanding special privileges, for imagined injuries.

To apply it to a sovereign country is to reveal the agenda.

What if a press release described a "palestinian" proposal as Playing the "Mass Murder Card?"
I'm not holding my breath to see that in print.

I have no further time to waste on a Sovereign Nation issue.

13 posted on 07/23/2009 1:11:43 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Publius6961

Did you read the article?


14 posted on 07/23/2009 1:17:12 PM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (G-d Bless President Bush. He kept us safe.)
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To: Publius6961
Our own U.S. Hussein seems to ignore that Israel has announced its capital, and it's Jerusalem. That decision is not open to debate by any foreign country, not even Obama's. That also would include "arab" neighborhoods.

Unless, of course, the Hussein is also suggesting that Israeli neighborhoods in the rest of Israel be devoid of arab buildings?

I've missed that press release.

15 posted on 07/23/2009 1:18:28 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Cinnamon Girl
Did you read the article?

You may be surprised that I've also read Mein Kampf.
Reading the remainder of the article simply confirmed my suspicions.

Relevance?

Have you read much of history?

16 posted on 07/23/2009 1:21:30 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Publius6961
I don't really get what you're driving at. Yes, I've ready quite a bit of history.

Compared to anything by Reuters, which has virtually set the standard for certain anti-Israel terminology, I didn't find this article out of the left wing journalism norm. I thought that it managed to isolate the conflict between Bibi and Obama, which I think is significant, and I think Obama has backed himself into a corner with his aggressive condemnation of Israel. And, while there is language which goes from slanted to inaccurate (as in the case of the hotel development), there is recognition that the U.S. is more focused on arab appeasement than supporting an ally:

Both sides seem ready to up the ante. The U.S. wants to be credible to the Arab world while Netanyahu wants to be credible to Israelis.

17 posted on 07/23/2009 1:42:08 PM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (G-d Bless President Bush. He kept us safe.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

18 posted on 07/23/2009 7:58:29 PM PDT by SJackson (the number-one job facing the middle class...a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S. Jobs)
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To: SJackson

Good for Bibi!!


19 posted on 07/23/2009 8:13:30 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Cinnamon Girl

“Defining Israel’s ‘settlement policy’ is the nub: Does it include also occupied East Jerusalem?

A low-key U.S. demand for Israel to scrap a plan for a new Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem is the latest tussle since U.S. President Barack Obama shifted the diplomatic ground dramatically when he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at their May meeting that all settlement construction had to stop because otherwise his plan to resuscitate peace moves between Israel and the Arab world would be blocked.”

This is all about Obama and his plans, of course. How dare these mere people who live there try to ruin my place in history as a piece maker?

At the end of last week the State Department summoned Ambassador Oren to tell him the U.S. wants plans by a controversial Jewish U.S. entrepreneur, Irving Moskowitz, to knock down an old hotel and instead build houses for Jewish settlers in the heart of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, to be frozen too.

Does IPS have one objective bone in its body? It’s his property.

Moskowitz, who raises funds for contentious settlement projects through a “charity” bingo hall in California, received planning permission for the project earlier this month.

Which is more than the 6,000 units that have been built by Hamas in the past four years can claim, since the financing is hidden and they didn’t even bother getting building permits.

“Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Russia have all lodged similar protests over the Shepherd Hotel project, but Netanyahu is focused on the row with the U.S. It’s almost as if he is the one spoiling, if not for a fight, then at least for a squabble with Obama.”

Gee. What a surprise. Why is it any of their business? Why is it Obama’s?

And, as Israeli-U.S. relations head to their lowest ebb in two decades, it could well get worse: a settler front group called Elad (also backed by Moskowitz) has filed with the Jerusalem municipality for approval for four new building projects that are designed to settle more Jews in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods. City Hall sources say it’s unlikely the plans will be thrown out, adding more fuel to the flames of a growing rift between Israel and the international community.

Settler front groups. Moskowitz. Woooooooooo!

Both sides seem ready to up the ante. The U.S. wants to be credible to the Arab world while Netanyahu wants to be credible to Israelis.

When the issue was raised by State Department officials they made it crystal clear that when the President had talked about curbing settlements he meant it to include East Jerusalem, the part of the city which Israel conquered in 1967 and which it annexed as part of its “united and eternal capital.”

The part of the city which the Arab League made judenrein in 1948 and the Palis still want to keep it that way.


20 posted on 07/24/2009 2:29:22 AM PDT by Eleutheria5 (www.publishedauthors.net/benmaxwell/index.html. Donate to members.tripod.com/tva_israel/HOME.HTM)
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To: dvan

You mean, his attempts to dismantle Jewish neighborhoods in Chevron and environs last time he was PM were genuine and sincere? Then are we to expect him to renew this campaign of ethnic self-cleansing?


21 posted on 07/24/2009 2:31:02 AM PDT by Eleutheria5 (www.publishedauthors.net/benmaxwell/index.html. Donate to members.tripod.com/tva_israel/HOME.HTM)
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To: Cinnamon Girl

Netanyahu can outwit the Kenyan any day of the week


22 posted on 07/24/2009 3:09:46 AM PDT by dennisw (Free Republic is an island in a sea of zombies)
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To: Eleutheria5

Bibi totally hosed us last time with Chevron, that is true. But he really seems to be running things differently this time. We’ll see how it goes, but so far he’s been quite firm and outspoken with regard to not acquiescing to Ozero. Do you not think so?


23 posted on 07/24/2009 8:09:56 AM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (G-d Bless President Bush. He kept us safe.)
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To: Cinnamon Girl

I’m skeptical. He’s beating up on the Jerusalem thing just a little too loudly for my tastes, which makes me suspect that if O backs down, he might then use his street creds on Jerusalem as cover, while he quietly freezes settlement growth. It’s entirely possible that they’re staging this whole confrontation in order to do that.

Forgive my cynicism, but I’ve never recovered from the sense of betrayal after what Sharon did to the Jews of Aza (Ghaza). Now as a “settler” myself, I’m leery of Likud.


24 posted on 07/25/2009 2:12:37 PM PDT by Eleutheria5 (www.publishedauthors.net/benmaxwell/index.html. Donate to members.tripod.com/tva_israel/HOME.HTM)
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