Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Unfair Criticism

The condemnation following Israel's announcement that it was building 1600 new homes for Jews to live in last week was predictable.  From Joe Biden through Hillary Clinton and down to the liberal anti-Israel press, the idea that Israel would dare to build on its own land raised the usual spectrum of criticism.
On the surface, the criticism does seem justified.  The timing - during Joe Biden's trip to the region - was admittedly poor.  The announcement seems to go against Israel's own promise to engage in a building freeze in "the disputed territories" which further undermine's the Netanyahu government's credibility.
However, scratch beneath the surface and a different perspective arises.
The first is to address the American government's outrage at the announcement.  Exactly what was wrong with it?  The new units are slated to be built in the eastern half of Yerushalayim.  When Netanyahu announced the building freeze, he expressively excluded Yerushalayim from it.  Therefore, this announcement does not break any agreements or promises.
The second is the issue of embarrassment.  The problem with the United States claiming that this announcement undermines their efforts ignores the reality that the Obama administration itself has done whatever it can to overtly support Israel's enemies over the last year while paying little more than lip service to the traditional U.S. - Israel alliance.  Joe Biden himself has a long history of less than enthuasiatic support for Israel while Obama is on record as saying that he believes Israel only exists because of the Holocaust, not because we have a millenia-old claim to the land.  That's not insulting?  Apparently the U.S. can say whatever it wants but Israel is held to a different standard.
This announcement is an opportunity for Bibi Netanyahu to make it clear that there are still red lines that the Israeli government will not cross and that if these lines are too far over for our enemies, there is no point in meaningless peace talks that will consist of unreasonable demands from the other side and pathetic encouragement from our "friends" to take a chance for peace.


David said...

I don't even think the timing was poor. I think that the Palestinians always do so well in these negotiations because they always come across as patently unreasonable. Thus, getting them to (say) cut down on acts of attempted murder by 15% represents quite a bit of progress, while one always expects the Israelis to behave like civilized people. Israel should start screaming that this land is what God gave to the Jewish people and we'd be damned for all eternity if we gave up an inch of our precious inheritance. Then, they should expand the settlement, rename it Kiryas Biden, and declare it to be the epicenter of Jewish history, and completely non-negotiable. Then, Netanyahu should claim that he can't control the settlers, and that, unless the Palestinians make some serious concessions, he won't be able to move them in negotiations. That might work!

Garnel Ironheart said...

In the 1970's, the great Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon wrote a piece about exactly that. He had the American ambassador upbraiding the prime minister about acts of violence against Arabs and land appropriations and the prime minister responded "But it's not done by us, it's all this very popular activist group and they have the support of so many people I can't do anything to stop them! Even most of the army supports them!"