By Barry Rubin*
March 14, 2010
For more than four months the U.S. government has been celebrating Israel agreeing to stop construction on settlements in the West Bank while continuing building in east Jerusalem as a great step forward and Israeli concession deserving a reward. Suddenly, all of this is forgotten to say that Israel building in east Jerusalem is some kind of terrible deed which deserves punishment.
Israelis are used to this pattern: give a big concession and a few months later that step is forgotten as Israel is portrayed as intransigent and more concessions are demanded with nothing in return. Here is a short history of this round:
October 31, 2009: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lavishly praises Israel as making "unprecedented" concessions in stopping construction on West Bank settlements while it is still going to build in east Jerusalem.
November 1, 2009: The U.S. State Department cheers Israel's announcement that it will stop construction on West Bank settlements but not in east Jerusalem: "Today's announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
March 12, 2010: Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says that Israel building in east Jerusalem is an "insult" to the United States, jeopardizes the bilateral relationship, and damages the cause of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, even though the Palestinian Authority has refused to negotiate for 14 months; made President Brack Obama look very foolish after destroying his publicly announced September plan to have negotiations in two months; and broke its promise not to sponsor the Goldstone report in the UN, no word of criticism has ever been offered by any administration official regarding the PA's continuous and very public sabotage of peace process efforts.
Can people please point out that there's a bit of a contradiction here?