Hillary's Disproportionate Response

When Israel imposed a ten-month ban on West Bank settlement construction last November, Hillary Clinton knew full well that the ban did not apply to Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem.  Nevertheless, she described the step as a helpful "move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." 

Now, despite the fact that Israel has apologized for its putative misstep in announcing new housing construction in these neighborhoods during Joe Biden's recent visit, Hillary has demanded total cessation of such activity,
saying in an address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that, "New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank...exposes daylight between Israel and the United States."

On March 11th, the very day of Mr. Biden's departure from Israel, Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah organization proceeded (albeit "unofficially") with the dedication of a public square in el Bireh to Dalal Mughrabi, the female leader of the deadliest-ever terrorist attack against Israel.  This was followed by a four-day seminar, under Palestinian Authority auspices, entitled, "Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Camp."  

Ironically, these actions do not seem to have exposed much daylight between the Palestinian Authority and the United States.  The explanation for the incongruity may be found in the fact that, during her AIPAC address, Hillary misattributed the Mughrabi celebrations to Hamas, thereby granting undeserved absolution to Israel's theoretical peace partners, Abbas and the PA.  (Pity America's ally, Israel, wasn't the beneficiary of such largesse.) 

Hillary then went on to explain that the dedication of the square "insults the families on both sides who have lost loved ones...in this conflict."  To accept this last thesis, one would have to borrow a phrase from Secretary Clinton and "suspend disbelief."  While the dedication of the square was, indeed, an insult to Israelis, it cannot be construed as such to the Palestinians who came out to celebrate the square's dedication or to a society that routinely glorifies blood-soaked terrorists as "martyrs."

Hillary enthusiasts may recall a statement she issued during her 2007-08 presidential campaign saying, "Hillary Clinton believes that Israel's right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned."  Her present stance on Jerusalem may seem like an about-face, but in fairness to her, she didn't say anything about Jews building houses in their undivided capital.  Moreover, she isn't asking questions.  She's making statements -- just as she did in June 2009, when she declared, "there is no agreement." (She was referring to George Bush's April 14, 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon assuring Israel that any final status agreement with the Palestinians would leave Israel with defensible borders encompassing the main West Bank settlement blocks).  Of course, in making that declaration, Hillary was technically correct.  There was no official "agreement" -- only a letter from then President Bush containing assurances that were ratified by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress in June of the same year.  

Hillary's demand that Israel cease all housing construction in the eastern portion of Jerusalem will prove a bitter -- if not fatal -- pill for the Netanyahu government to swallow.  More importantly, however, the Secretary of State's Orwellian approach to diplomacy will make it difficult for Israel to place stock in American assurances the next time Hillary publicly calls upon the Jewish state to take patently dangerous risks for peace.  Indeed, it may be her own shrinking stock rather than Israel's construction planning that has exposed the ominous "daylight" about which she expressed such concern to AIPAC.

Jack Schwartzwald, MD, Brown University.  See Jack's articles "3D Anti-Semitism," and "Israeli settlements:  Neither "colonial," nor "illegal," here and here.
When Israel imposed a ten-month ban on West Bank settlement construction last November, Hillary Clinton knew full well that the ban did not apply to Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem.  Nevertheless, she described the step as a helpful "move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." 

Now, despite the fact that Israel has apologized for its putative misstep in announcing new housing construction in these neighborhoods during Joe Biden's recent visit, Hillary has demanded total cessation of such activity,
saying in an address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that, "New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank...exposes daylight between Israel and the United States."

On March 11th, the very day of Mr. Biden's departure from Israel, Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah organization proceeded (albeit "unofficially") with the dedication of a public square in el Bireh to Dalal Mughrabi, the female leader of the deadliest-ever terrorist attack against Israel.  This was followed by a four-day seminar, under Palestinian Authority auspices, entitled, "Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Camp."  

Ironically, these actions do not seem to have exposed much daylight between the Palestinian Authority and the United States.  The explanation for the incongruity may be found in the fact that, during her AIPAC address, Hillary misattributed the Mughrabi celebrations to Hamas, thereby granting undeserved absolution to Israel's theoretical peace partners, Abbas and the PA.  (Pity America's ally, Israel, wasn't the beneficiary of such largesse.) 

Hillary then went on to explain that the dedication of the square "insults the families on both sides who have lost loved ones...in this conflict."  To accept this last thesis, one would have to borrow a phrase from Secretary Clinton and "suspend disbelief."  While the dedication of the square was, indeed, an insult to Israelis, it cannot be construed as such to the Palestinians who came out to celebrate the square's dedication or to a society that routinely glorifies blood-soaked terrorists as "martyrs."

Hillary enthusiasts may recall a statement she issued during her 2007-08 presidential campaign saying, "Hillary Clinton believes that Israel's right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned."  Her present stance on Jerusalem may seem like an about-face, but in fairness to her, she didn't say anything about Jews building houses in their undivided capital.  Moreover, she isn't asking questions.  She's making statements -- just as she did in June 2009, when she declared, "there is no agreement." (She was referring to George Bush's April 14, 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon assuring Israel that any final status agreement with the Palestinians would leave Israel with defensible borders encompassing the main West Bank settlement blocks).  Of course, in making that declaration, Hillary was technically correct.  There was no official "agreement" -- only a letter from then President Bush containing assurances that were ratified by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress in June of the same year.  

Hillary's demand that Israel cease all housing construction in the eastern portion of Jerusalem will prove a bitter -- if not fatal -- pill for the Netanyahu government to swallow.  More importantly, however, the Secretary of State's Orwellian approach to diplomacy will make it difficult for Israel to place stock in American assurances the next time Hillary publicly calls upon the Jewish state to take patently dangerous risks for peace.  Indeed, it may be her own shrinking stock rather than Israel's construction planning that has exposed the ominous "daylight" about which she expressed such concern to AIPAC.

Jack Schwartzwald, MD, Brown University.  See Jack's articles "3D Anti-Semitism," and "Israeli settlements:  Neither "colonial," nor "illegal," here and here.

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