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  •  Pretty interesting piece... (5+ / 0-)

    in Newsweek today (yeah, yeah) about the Obama administration's possible new strategy with Israel: benign neglect.

    The last week of November 2012 was a big one on the Israeli-Palestinian front. On the 65th anniversary of the partition resolution that created a Jewish state, the United Nations recognized a Palestinian one. Israel retaliated with the West Bank equivalent of sequestration: announcing it would move toward building settlements in an area east of Jerusalem called E1, which many observers believe would kill the two-state solution. European governments responded by threatening to withdraw their ambassadors.

    And the United States? It mostly watched. In 2011, when the Palestinians first sought a U.N. status upgrade, the Obama diplomatic corps lobbied so hard against it that one State Department official joked that “sometimes I feel like I work for the Israeli government.” This time, by contrast, the U.S. largely went through the motions. It was “half-assed,” observes a Middle East insider close to the administration. “They didn’t really lobby hard ... [The attitude was] if Israel ends up with a big embarrassment, who gives a s--t.”

    Then, when Israel responded by going nuclear on settlements and the Europeans responded with fury, the administration was similarly passive. Contrary to reports in the Israeli press, Team Obama didn’t mastermind the angry European response. But neither did they tamp it down. Even though E1 has long been an American red line. And even though the Israelis alerted the White House mere hours before they announced the decision, the Obama administration’s response was pro forma and bland. Publicly, Obama himself said nothing. It was the first sign of what senior administration officials predict may be a new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Obama’s second term: benign neglect.

    He also notes that unfortunately, it looks like Netanyahu's party will easily cruise to victory in their elections in just a few weeks, as Kadima has fallen apart.

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