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'Israel Today Really is Behaving Like a Spoiled Child'
NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman thinks Israel's behaving "like a spoiled child" these days:
It is a measure of how spoiled Israel has become that after billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid and 300,000 settlers already ensconced in the West Bank, Israel feels no compunction about spurning an American request for a longer settlement freeze — the only purpose of which is to help the United States help Israel reach a secure peace with the Palestinians.
Friedman's entitled to his views. But President Obama's offer -- including an arms package and American veto protection in the UN, in exchange for a one-time 60-day extension of the recently expired moratorium on settlement activity -- may not be as clear cut as Friedman makes it out to be.
Without taking a position on whether or not Israel should agree, consider the following three points:
1. If the US offer was that simple, I think the Prime Minister and the Israeli right would have jumped on the deal. Settlers would sit tight for 60 days, and the US would be in no position to ask for any more settlement freeze, whatever the outcome of peace talks in the ensuing period.
2. There's probably more to the deal than what's being reported. I presume there a quid pro quo that the US expects a freeze on settlement activity for longer than 60 days in return for its hefty investment.
Is the Prime Minister trying to avoid a precedent that would potentially freeze settlement activity for the duration of negotiations? Are there other unwritten understandings we may only learn of years from now?
3. Friedman would do well to recall the NYT's own role in trying to unravel understandings reached between Ariel Sharon and George Bush Jr. over -- of all things -- settlements.
Just cautious. And justifiably so.
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Israel is also justifiably cautious about acceding to American requests and "special letters" after the recent fiasco where Obama denied all knowledge of any previous agreements between the Bush Administration and Israel, and refused to honour those agreements.
The deal was turned down because barack hussein obama cannot be trusted.
Spoiled people everywhere are looking on in envy at the glorious example set by the Gazans and West Bankers, who receive billions in aid and lots of food for blowing people up