Vice president Joe Biden's anger at the announcement of the building of 1600 new appartments in Arab East-Jerusalem which coincided with his visit to Israel (see my former post) was not the whole story. Nor the fact that Secretary of State Hillray Clinton called Israël's behavior 'insulting', or that Netanyahu on Sunday apologized
On the Foreign Policy Mideast blog Mark Perry describes how, already much earlier the American top military leader were extremely worried about the possible consequences of a US administration that was percieved as too weak to stand up against Israeli provocations and unable to direct peace negotiations in a desirable way:
On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief JCS Chairman Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) "too old, too slow...and too late."The whole article is worth reading. Pictures: (top) general David Petraeus, (down) admiral Mike Mullen
The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus's instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. "Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling," a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. "America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding."