Joe in Israel (cont.)

Here is Juan Cole on Joe's adventures yesterday."Israel Humiliates Biden, Announces Further Colonization on Eve of US-Brokered Talks"The far rightwing government of Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel majorly sandbagged Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, demonstrating once again that it has not the slightest interest in pursuing a just peace with the Palestinian people or in trading a cessation of its colonization of the Palestinian West Bank for a comprehensive peace with the Arab world."Biden went to the Mideast to kick off negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and reassured the latter of undying US support for them. On Chris Matthews' Hardball, Biden explained that when you marry someone, you tell them you love them, but that does not remove the obligation to keep saying it years later. Apparently, however, Washington is henpecked by Tel Aviv to the point almost of being a battered spouse. In response to Biden's loyal support for Israel over decades, the Likud-led government kicked him in the teeth. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai abruptly announced that he would build 1600 new households (for 8,000 people?) in a part of the Occupied West Bank that the Israeli government had annexed to Jerusalem District. It was precisely such new and increasing Israeli building on Palestinian territory that had led Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reject negotiations and to threaten to resign. The announcement put in doubt whether the negotiations would go forward, and made Biden and the United States government look like fools."Joe Biden should have turned around and left the country. Instead, he showed up 90 minutes late to a state dinner hosted by Netanyahu and dared actually directly complain about the way he was treated, "I condemn the decision," he said, calling it "precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel." (March 10, 2010)David Gibson recommends Joe Klein's take "Kicking Sand."

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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