Friday, March 12, 2010

Biden to Netanyahu: 'This is getting dangerous for us'

Joe Biden's visit to Israel started with smiles. Biden had come to Israel in order to give a boost to the talks between Israel and the PA, the so called peace process, and to discuss Iran (to tell Israel 'to cool it' as Al-Jazeera English put it). But then there were the announcements - first of the building of 112 additional units in the settlement of Betar Illit -  and on Tuesday of another 1600 homes in Arab East-Jerusalem.
In front of the camera's Biden managed to remain friendly, but behind cloosed doors he acted differently. Here's what Shimon Shiffer wrote about it in Yedioth Ahronot, as quoted by Laura Rozen on her blog:
While standing in front of the cameras, the U.S. vice president made an effort to smile at Binyamin Netanyahu even after having learned on Tuesday that the Interior Ministry had approved plans to build 1,600 housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. But in closed conversations, Joe Biden took an entirely different tone. ...
People who heard what Biden said were stunned. “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden castigated his interlocutors. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”
The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.
 Biden has always been a staunch supporter of Israel. Will the way they affronted him have consequences? Will Obama draw conclusions from it? I doubt it. Any reaction would be much too late anyway.   .

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