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Lo, the Mideast Moves

Posted by alanmirs on March 30, 2010


Lo, the Mideast Moves

Published: March 29, 2010

Israeli leader toyed with Obama’s unequivocal call in Cairo last June for a “stop” to Israeli settlements. He allowed the ill-timed announcement that 1,600 apartments for Jews will be built in East Jerusalem. Then, rather than scrap that, Netanyahu chose cheap cheers from the American Israel Public Affairs CommittTheee with “Jerusalem is not a settlement.”

So it is with the East Jerusalem housing fiasco. Nothing will happen in the Middle East unless the United States is seen as an honest broker able to criticize both sides when needed. Obama’s anger sped a needed clarification and freed debate

Already, there are shifts in Israeli attitudes as a result of the new American clarity. Last year, Netanyahu described Iran’s leaders as “a messianic apocalyptic cult,” which was silly. Of late we’ve had Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, setting things right: “I don’t think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, are going to drop it in the neighborhood. They fully understand what might follow. They are radical butnot total ‘meshuganas.’ They have a quite sophisticated decision-making process.”

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