Yesterday's papers presented a number of articles about the ongoing political crisis in Israel and between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government regarding Biden's visit. Tom Friedman in the Times compared settlement construction with driving drunk. "...Israel needs a wake-up call. Continuing to build settlements in the West Bank, and even housing in disputed East Jerusalem, is sheer madness. Yasir Arafat accepted that Jewish suburbs there would be under Israeli sovereignty in any peace deal that would also make Arab parts of East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. 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." Again I would suggest that the crucial issue is the acceptance of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and the land of Israel not so much housing. The Washington Post explored the perceived growing divide between Israel and America in an article that featured a range of commentators. Personally I start worrying when a top ranking US official like David Axelrod characterizes last week's events with the words, "What happened there was an affront. It was an insult." The Israeli press has been scathing in its treatment of Netanyahu. It should be noted that the Israeli press is almost always critical. Yediot Aharonot editorializes: "Netanyahu can become inebriated as much as he likes from the support of the Jewish Right, he cannot alter the political reality: Obama will sit in the White House for at least three more years, surrounded by a group of liberals, some of whom are Jewish. The vociferous ovations that will precede Netanyahu at the AIPAC conference will not help him in his future contacts with the White House." Israel will certainly have to make great compromises. I hope and pray that the compromises of the future will not bring a third intifada as Oslo brought the second. For more insights about the situation watch today's news report from Israel's channel 2 TV news, in English.
Addendum. And for good measure today's editorial in the Journal blames the Obama administration for the current breakdown in relations between Israel and the US, commenting: "Then again, this episode does fit Mr. Obama's foreign policy pattern to date: Our enemies get courted; our friends get the squeeze."