Bibi`s Hollow Victory
"The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the
Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is
not a settlement. It is our capital."
defiant declaration, to a thunderous ovation at
AIPAC, Benjamin Netanyahu informed the United States
that East Jerusalem, taken from Jordan in the Six Day
War, is not occupied land. It is Israeli land and
Israel`s forever, and no Palestinian state will share
Jerusalem. Israel alone decides what is built, and
where, in the Holy City.
With his declaration and refusal to
walk back the decision to build 1,600 new housing units
in East Jerusalem, which blew up the Biden mission,
goes home a winner over Barack Obama.
But it is a temporary triumph and
hollow victory—over Israel`s indispensable ally. For the
clash revealed that the perceived vital interests of
Israel now collide with vital U.S. interest in the
We have clarity. There is now
visible daylight between U.S. and Israeli policy for all
the world to see. And America cannot back down without
eviscerating her credibility in the Arab and Muslim
What are the major points of
To Netanyahu, withdrawal from Gaza
was a strategic blunder that led to a Hamas takeover and
rockets on Israel. That blunder will not be repeated
with the West Bank. Israel had a hellish time forcing
8,000 Jews to leave Gaza and will not force 250,000 Jews
to leave ancestral lands on the West Bank to create a
Palestinian state where the possibility will always
exist that Hamas will win at the ballot box and become
the government. As for Jerusalem, its city limits are
now Israel`s permanent borders. Annexation is
The American position?
The West Bank, including East
Jerusalem, is occupied territory. Building there
violates international law. Peace requires a sharing of
Jerusalem, return of almost all of the West Bank and
withdrawal of the Jewish settlers. And any land annexed
by Israel must be compensated for with Israeli land
ceded to the Palestinians.
That the U.S. position is not
anti-Israel is attested to by the fact that Prime
Ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert came close to a
peace with the Palestinians based on these principles.
Netanyahu, however, does not accept
them. For he won office denouncing them, and in his
ruling coalition are parties that not only opposed
withdrawal from Gaza, they oppose a Palestinian state.
Given the irreconcilable positions,
the deadlock, why will Israel not prevail as she always
prevails in such collisions? Why would Bibi`s
Obama`s demand for a halt to the building of settlements
and a cancellation of the 1,600 housing units in
Jerusalem not be the final and irrevocable answer that
Obama must grudgingly accept?
Answer: There is a new party to the
quarrel: the U.S. military, in the person of Gen. David
magazine, in January, a delegation of senior officers
from Petraeus` command were sent to brief Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen.
"The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab
leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to
Israel, that CentCom`s mostly Arab constituency was
losing faith in American promises, that Israel`s
intransigence on the Arab-Palestinian conflict was
jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that
(George) Mitchell himself was … `too old, too slow and
too late.`" [The
Petraeus briefing: Biden`s embarrassment is not the
whole story, March 13, 2010]
Mullen took this stark message—that
America was seen as too weak to stand up to Israel, and
the U.S. military posture was eroding in the Arab world
as a result—straight to the White House. Hence, when Joe
Biden was sandbagged in Israel, he apparently tore into
Bibi in private.
"This is starting
to get dangerous for us," Biden reportedly told
you`re doing here undermines the security of our troops
who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."
president told his Israeli hosts that since many people
in the Muslim world perceived a connection between
Israel`s actions and U.S. policy, any decision about
construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East
Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of
Biden was saying Israeli
intransigence could cost American lives.
Each new report of settlement
expansion, each new seizure of Palestinian property,
each new West Bank clash between Palestinians and
Israeli troops inflames the Arab street, humiliates our
Arab allies, exposes America as a weakling that cannot
stand up to Israel, and imperils our troops and their
mission in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As this message has now been
delivered by Gen. Petraeus to his commander in chief,
Obama simply cannot back down again. If he does not
stand up now for U.S. interests, which are being
imperiled by Israeli actions, he will lose the backing
of his soldiers.
U.S.-Israeli relations are
"Whose side are you on?" moment. Either Bibi backs
down this time—or Obama loses his soldiers.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to
VDARE.COM readers; his book State
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
Paul Craig Roberts.