According to Ynet, the idiotic, catastrophic and harmful announcement of the construction of 1600 new residential units in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo on the day that the VP of the USA, Mr. Biden himself, was in Israel to show senior-level support for a new round of Israel-Palestinian peace talks, happened without Netanyahu’s knowledge or approval. In fact, according to Ynet, Netanyahu demanded that the Interior Ministry, headed by Eli Yishai from Shas, a Sephardic Orthodox party, keep him abreast of any new housing developments and avoid any “surprises.”

Well, Biden kept Netanyahu and his wife waiting for him for an hour and a half when it was time to host him for dinner. An hour and a half! At least he showed up, Israel should be grateful that he was in a forgiving mood.

Netanyahu apologized, of course, but it was far too late. After months of trying to bring the Palestinians to the table and involving half the Arab governments in the region in the process, on the day when the US administration sent its second most senior member to initiate the process, the Israeli government humiliated him, the US administration, the PA government and the state of Israel in general.

Remember when Israel sent soldiers to Lebanon without food or fighting supplies? Remember when the Deputy Foreign Minister sat the Turkish envoy to Israel on a low seat and happily told reporters to note the humiliation? Remember when the Israeli Olympics team kept the Israeli figure skating champion away from the Vancouver Olympics because she was only ranked 20th in the world? Remember when the Goldstone Report came out and the Israeli government refused (and refuses) to appoint an independent investigative commission even though it opens every Israeli officer who played a role in that war to potential war crimes charges if Israel can’t get the West to play along? Remember how in the midst of this difficult diplomatic dance, it was discovered that some intelligence agency was using, for a hit in a foreign country, passports from the Western countries that will determine how Goldstone is addressed? Remember the recently opened ridiculous government propaganda website that is intended to make every Israeli a spokesperson for Israel?

This one takes the prize. This has to be the most offensive, most amateurish, most foolish action taken by Israel in many, many years.

It also makes Netanyahu look like an idiot. If he knew about this and didn’t stop it, then he’s very stupid. If he didn’t know about this and he’s the PM of Israel being undermined by one of his ministers and ministries, then he’s not in control.

There will be lots of apologies by Israel to the US over this one and there will be a price to pay because Israel will now enter these negotiations hamstrung by its inability to play up its deep friendship with the US. On the contrary, expect the US to teach Israel a lesson.

And it will be well deserved.

Update:

“The district committees approve plans weekly without informing me,” Yishai told Israel Radio. He further said that the committee could not have predicted that the approval would spur such a political storm.

“A few days ago, hundreds of new housing units were approved in Beitar Illit, which is much more problematic,” said Yishai. “So if the committee members saw that those houses were approved without a problem, they didn’t think a technical authorization in Jerusalem, which isn’t part of the settlement freeze, would require the minister’s knowledge.”

Yishai emphasized that even though he doesn’t see a problem with the actual authorization of the East Jerusalem homes, if he knew about it, he would have delayed the move by a few weeks.

“If I’d have known, I would have postponed the authorization by a week or two since we had no intention of provoking anyone,” Yishai said. “It is definitely unpleasant that this happened during Biden’s visit. If the committee members would have known that the approval would have escalated to such a situation, they would have informed me,” Yishai emphasized.

“I apologize for the distress this matter caused,” he added.

About the author

themiddle

18 Comments

  • Yeah, sure, Bibi had no idea.
    Sure.
    The public workers unions knew enough to suspend their strike in Jerusalem due to Biden’s visit – but Yishai and Bibi are too stupid to figure it out.
    Yeah, sure.

    Amazing what Bibi-phobes will believe.

    Let’s try it this way:
    This is another version of the good-cop/bad-cop routine that Bibi has used repeatedly to rope-a-dope the Obama White House.

    The Alinskyites of the Obama administration are itching to demonize Bibi – the only right-wing Israeli with name recognition in the US. Such demonization would also have potentially divisive/neutralizing impact on “the Jewish lobby” in the US.

    To frustrate this, Bibi has consistently feinted left – repeatedly stating his willingness to talk, issuing the 10 month settlement freeze – with other members of the coalition acting as “Bad Cop” (Boogie Ya’alon, Liberman, the settlers).

    Then Bibi shrugs and says his hands are tied.

    (This act also has salutary effects within Israel, but that’s not the focus here.)

    This is how Bibi got Hilary to back off the attempted linkage between the Piece Process and action on Iran.

    Bibi and Liberman know exactly how weak Biden and The Big O are just now.

    It’s unlikely that this was uncalculated.

  • If it was calculated, this was a major league failure.

    But it wasn’t calculated.

    Biden kept them waiting for 1.5 hours. That’s how bush-league this whole thing was. Talk about giving up any goodwill they might have had.

  • Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. Israel has stated, unequivocably, repeatedly, with no room for misunderstandings, that Jerusalem must remain under Israeli control in any final status agreement. Every government that has waffled on that issue has quickly been booted out of power by the Israeli public (if you promote democracy, you have to accept the will of the majority, even if it’s not according to Jewlicious’s liking).

    I agree that Bibi was probably blindsided by this announcement, because making his point by embarassing the Americans isn’t his style. But Israel must continue to build in Jerusalem to develop the city and attract new residents. It’s Israel’s capitol and it’s an amazing chutzpa for anyone to assume that diplomatic niceties should stop new projects in the nation’s capitol.

    Speaking of chutzpa…..Jewlicious thinks that Israel should kowtow to Goldstone’s report? Name me one other country in the world which has launched a defensive military action (I hope that Jewlicious agrees that protecting unarmed civilians in Sderot from unrelenting rocket attacks counts as a defensive action)and has weathered the type of criticism that israel has, much less had an official inquiry from the U.N. Has anyone so much as blinked at civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was there even a discussion about Russia’s invasion of Georgia, a nasty little war (defensive? Ha!) that left hundreds dead, wounded and maimed and thousands homeless. Burma? China/Tibet? And Jewlicious is all bent out of shape because Israel didn’t grovel and launch an investigation to give Goldstone’s report any credibility?

    And as for the whining about the passports…assuming that it was the Mossad….if American could have prevented 9/11, or Spain could have prevented the Madrid bombimgs, or London could have prevented the London Tube attacks by neutralizing the terrorists, do you really believe that they should have refrained if it meant using false passports? Whoever assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhouh killed a man who was responsible for deaths of many innocent people and had the interest, ability and desire to continue. Assassinating him put a major terrorist out of commission. England, Ireland and Australia should have been honored that their country’s passports were used to save so many lives. Any one of them would have done the same thing if their national interest was at stake.

  • Um, Chana, Jewlicious is a bunch of writers. I am merely one of them.

    You don’t need to convince me about the unfairness of the Goldstone Report. However, there is no reason for Israel to avoid an independent inquiry and it is a strategic error on the part of Israel not to comply. I have written the same points that you raise about the world ignoring far more grave evils while holding Israel responsible. However, whether we like it or not, the Report exists and Israel WILL pay a price if it doesn’t play along.

    I also don’t have a problem with conducting a hit against a Hamas operative. I have a problem with the use of real names of Israelis who have dual citizenships since their names are now linked to this killing. I also have to say that, whether you like it or not, the use of passports from countries such as Ireland, England and France, probably influenced the decision today at the EU parliament which passed a resolution accepting the Goldstone Report and demanding that Israel comply with its recommendations.

    Israel needs the West.

  • Everyone is pretty much pissing in Obama’s face while he smiles and calls it rain like the weakling he is. Why shouldn’t Israel jump on the bandwagon?

    Obama deserves it anyway. Ever since he was elected, he’s done everything he possibly can to gratuitously insult Israel at every opportunity while cravenly kowtowing to the Muslims while they laugh in his face.

    Israel needs to show everyone it is serious about not giving up Jerusalem. Obama’s contempt for Israel and Jewish rights is obvious and palpable, and has gone out of his way to tell Israel they will have to do what he says and agree to the redivision of the city. His arrogance and chutzpah towards Israel and the Jews is just too much to bear.

    Israel is telling him to stuff it. Good for them.

  • themiddle has been reading Haaretz a bit too much lately. Of course the Israeli government is a bunch of incompetent, lying, corrupt amateurs and idiots. But every Israeli government has been like that. That’s the Israeli way – being run by amateurs and idiots and still miraculously survive and thrive.

    And without a doubt absolutely nothing’s wrong with allowing Jews to build houses in a Jewish area in Jerusalem. Joe Biden is just another Jimmy Carter.

    • No, Biden is not another Jimmy Carter. This was an idiotic move by the government. Eli Yishai himself is apologizing, Barak is declaring this will be a costly mistake and Netanyahu’s office is issuing “we didn’t know” leaks to reporters. Ha’aretz? Ynet, Jpost and anybody with half a brain understands the damage caused by yesterday’s amateurishness.

  • “Eli Yishai himself is apologizing, Barak is declaring this will be a costly mistake and Netanyahu’s office is issuing “we didn’t know” leaks to reporters.”

    They are just kissing the Master’s feet because they don’t want to get kicked. After all, they are still America’s humble dhimmis.

  • “Um, couldn’t they have avoided kissing anybody’s feet by just waiting a few weeks to make this announcement?”

    Um, they could also have avoided it by simply not doing it. Instead they could have made clear that it’s not Mr Biden’s or Mr Ban’s business if Israel allows its citizens to build houses on its own territory.

    • Sure. Just wait until the next time the Goldstone Report comes up for some vote in the UN and the US chooses to take to heart the sentiment that Israel doesn’t much care for US policy.

      What is wrong with this picture is that those of you defending what even the people who did this are not defending is that you’re now attacking the US which is a close ally and friend of Israel’s in order to justify this folly of an announcement.

      The US is Israel’s friend and ally, folks. This is no way to treat a friend.

  • “The US is Israel’s friend and ally, folks. This is no way to treat a friend.”

    Dude, it’s not like Netanyahu blew smoke into Biden’s face and laughed, “Hey, you old monkey, know what? We’re building 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem. Just decided it today. Whatcha say about that, motherfucker!”. Instead it was a routine announcement about building homes in a fairly uncontroversial area. They just didn’t know how deep they were supposed to shove their heads into Biden’s ass to keep him from having one of his fits.

    Anyway, irrelevant incident altogether.

  • Middle:
    The US is Israel’s friend and ally, folks. This is no way to treat a friend.
    – – – – – – – – – –
    It is our friend because of the large number of Americans who support us – including our right to build anywhere in our capital.

    The current administration has done everything it can to weaken that friendship. Regarding your worries that they will no longer take our side – they have already abandoned Israel in several international fora.

    Years of Oslo cravenness have led left-wingers to think that they can pressure Israel and it will fold.

    I know it makes some Jews jittery, but the only way to assert sovereignty is to simply ignore that pressure.

  • Sorry, I’m one of those who believe that no matter what Israel does, it’s going to get trashed critics. Why haven’t any of these humanistic European nations spoken out against what happened in Nigeria a few days ago? Why hasn’t there been a commission of inquiry into Darfur? Turkish Kurds? There won’t be either, because there is no other country that is held to the kind of scrutiny that Israel is.

    So, you can say, “oh golly, we NEED the Europeans. We NEED the Americans. We NEED the…..whoever”. Or, you can say “you know what? They’re going to hate our guts no matter what we do, so let’s just go out and do what we need to in the best way possible and get on with our lives.

  • I agree with eeryone in this thread except the author. You really need to relax. Any amount of amateurism by Bibis government is eclipsed by the Obama government. They are a joke. They’ve actually helped increase support for Israel in the US indirectly. They treat our enemies with kids gloves and put pressure on friends or purposefully embarrass them like England. Israel should do what it wants like like every other country and Obama will still be the ineffective bitch he is.

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