Tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are growing after the U.S. administration's demand that Israel completely freeze construction in all West Bank settlements. Israeli political officials expressed disappointment after Tuesday's round of meetings in London with George Mitchell, U.S. President Barack Obama's envoy to the Middle East.
"We're disappointed," said one senior official. "All of the understandings reached during the [George W.] Bush administration are worth nothing." Another official said the U.S. administration is refusing every Israeli attempt to reach new agreements on settlement construction. "The United States is taking a line of granting concessions to the Palestinians that is not fair toward Israel, he said. The Israeli officials attributed the unyielding U.S. stance to the speech Obama will make in Cairo this Thursday, in which he is expected to deliver a message of reconciliation to the Arab and Muslim worlds.
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The Israeli envoys said the demand for a total settlement freeze was not only unworkable, but would not receive High Court sanction. Tensions reportedly reached a peak when, speaking of the Gaza disengagement, the Israelis told their interlocutors, "We evacuated 8,000 settlers on our own initiative," to which Mitchell responded simply, "We've noted that here."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak will travel to Washington today in an attempt to put further pressure on the Obama administration.
"We want to reach an agreement with the United States on ways to advance the peace process," said a senior Jerusalem official. The U.S. stance, he said, "will stall the process and bring about tension and stagnation, which will hurt both Israel and the United States."
In the meantime, Obama keeps on bowing down as he prepares to offer a "personal commitment" to Muslims around the world.
President Barack Obama will offer a "personal commitment" to bridge US differences with Muslims in his long-awaited speech to the Islamic world next week in Egypt, aides said.
Obama needs to get up off his knees and stand the hell up.
Dude, you are the President of the United States of America, start acting like it and quit kissing ass.