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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Public Break with U.S. Helps Netanyahu

Obama's Middle East screwup, unites Israeli's behind Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


For five months, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been fending off U.S. pressure to halt the expansion of West Bank settlements. Now he is reaping dividends for his defiance.

Although Israeli leaders have historically been reluctant to publicly break with the United States for fear of paying a price in domestic support, polls show that Netanyahu's strategy is working. And that means that after months of diplomacy, the quick breakthrough that President Obama had hoped would restart peace talks has instead turned into a familiar stalemate.

Arab states largely have rebuffed Obama's request for an overture to Israel until the settlement issue is resolved -- a stand that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak emphasized in a meeting with Obama on Tuesday -- and the Palestinians have said a settlement freeze is a precondition for resuming negotiations. Meanwhile, the Israeli public seems to have rallied around Netanyahu's refusal to halt all settlement construction, a backlash that intensified when the Obama administration made clear that it wanted Israel to stop building Jewish homes in some parts of Jerusalem as well as in the occupied West Bank.

Obama allowed himself to be used like a chump by Palestinians against Israel, assuming Israel would bow down and heed the president of the United States, but when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to let Obama dictate to him what was best for Israel, Israelis responded in favor of Netanyahu, against Obama.

Power Line concludes with the quote of the day:

Obama has done what I thought it was nearly impossible to do -- he has made the United States a bit player in Israel.

Nuff said.