In what I can only classify as a comedy of political missteps it appears that all within a month the Israeli and the American governments have managed to offend each other only to the delight of the terrorist world. The first offense came during Joe Biden’s visit a few weeks back when unfortunately just as he came to press for peace the Israeli government announced the approval for building of more settlements in East Jerusalem. As the US has shamefully given into the Arab demand that no negotiations will take place till the settlements are frozen this was a big slap in the face for Biden. It forced him to denounce the new settlements and off course provided a big “you see” moment for the Arabs.

Even being a pro Israel blogger I have to say that this move on the part of the Israeli government was anything but graceful. I don’t actually disagree with the move itself as I don’t see any reason that Israel should stop building settlements in Jerusalem but the timing of the announcement was terrible. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Biden that he was not aware of the announcement as it came from a district committee that makes these decisions. However, in my view this is an unacceptable answer as Israel is not so big that the Prime Minister should not be aware of an announcement that from a foreign relations standpoint would create this big of a reaction.

I will save my rant on why Israel should continue to build settlements but in general I don’t think due to its proximity to Jewish inhabitants and the utter craziness of splitting a city in half East Jerusalem will ever be the Palestinian capital as currently proposed. So I see no harm in building settlements there as Israel will never accept any two state solution where Jerusalem is not 100% under Israeli control.

In return for this insult, Joe called on his big brother, Obama, to ensure that next visit from Netanyahu would end in similar humiliation. The news I am reading and hearing is a bit fuzzy on the details but sounds like not only did Obama not arrange for the normal photo session that he has when meeting with a head of state but also he walked out of a meeting to go have dinner with his family. Not sure how much truth is in the story but the bottom line seems to be that Obama has no clue how to behave himself. Sticking up for Biden is one thing but even as president of the most powerful country you have to know how to act when you have guests.

I think both unfortunate incidents were probably blown out of proportion by the media and both only served to advance one cause which is the continued delay of any real peace talks. Not that I am convinced that peace talks would bring any real change but a public pissing contest to see who can out insult the other definitely brings no positive change. Don’t think I have ever written an article where the Arabs win at the end but in this case they were the only ones to benefit from this month’s political mishaps.

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Peter Rabbit writes a monthly column on politics and world events for The Casual Observer, specializing in the Middle East. His articles can be found in Carrots of Wisdom.

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