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Day 9: The Kabuki Dance

Looks like there are moves to step down: Clinton smiling at a State Dept. mike said the U.S. and Israel remained united in ensuring Israel's security (no doubt). Ha'aretz reports that Netanyahu and Biden spoke on the phone long into the night Tuesday with Netanyahu's advisers and the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. listening in (if Biden was forgiving that will leak to the Israeli media). On Tuesday's Newshour the emerging trope: too bad about the mess-up but the U.S. has no policy in place to move the question; may as well go back to the status quo ante.Is General Petreus proving to be the voice of reality? Before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, he said, The conflict foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of U.S. favoritism toward Israel. Pretty straightforward. Here is a fuller account of Petreus's views (posted earlier): Up: "JERUSALEM Israeli officials said on Wednesday that efforts were under way to calm tensions with the Obama administration and come up with a formula to diffuse a diplomatic crisis over building in contested East Jerusalem."The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, hurried to distance himself from remarks made by his brother-in-law, Hagai Ben Artzi, in a radio interview on Wednesday, in which he described President Barack Obama as an anti-Semite. Mr. Netanyahu said that he utterly rejected the comments made by his wifes brother, whose hawkish views are well-known."In a statement distributed by his office, Mr. Netanyahu added that he had a deep appreciation for President Obamas commitment to Israels security and for the profound relationship between Israel and the United States."

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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Today's Haaretz has an editorial urging Israel to accede to the three "demands" that the Obama administration has made. I hope that the Israeli government heeds this editorial.

Here's a paragraph of the editorial BD cites:"Israeli agreement to discuss all the core issues, including Jerusalem, derives from the Oslo Accords and the road map, to which the government is committed. Even without the heavy cloud hovering over relations with the United States, an Israeli government that is really and truly interested in ending the conflict must act to strengthen the status of the Palestinian partner, avoid provocative decisions and renew talks on the core issues from the point they stopped a year and half ago."The whole thing here:

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