U.S. Diplomacy on Gaza Has Little Sway on Israel

The NYT has so many blind spots that they fail to understand or acknowledge, what America has done wrong in trying to force Israel to the ’67 lines, stop settlements, release murderers, apologize to Erdogan and to prevent Israel from attacking Iran. How could they be so stupid? Furthermore, by now everyone knows that Israel didn’t bomb the school, everyone that is, other than the NYT. They fail to understand that stopping the violence in Gaza is effectively wanting Israel not to victorious. That to create a parallel ceasefire process with Qatar and Turkey to the one with Egypt that Israel prefers, is to knife Israel in the back. Not to mention rejecting demilitarization until a peace agreement is worked out. That to support all of the demands of Hamas up front is not a further cause for alienation. They complain about our tough talk about Kerry and the US proposals, but not a word of all the tough talk from the US which amounted to threats should we defy them. How could they be so stupid? Ted Belman


WASHINGTON — When the State Department condemned Israel’s strike on a United Nations school in Gaza on Sunday, saying it was “appalled” by this “disgraceful” act, it gave full vent to what has been weeks of mounting American anger toward the Israeli government.

The blunt, unsparing language — among the toughest diplomats recall ever being aimed at Israel — lays bare a frustrating reality for the Obama administration: the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has largely dismissed diplomatic efforts by the United States to end the violence in Gaza, leaving American officials to seethe on the sidelines about what they regard as disrespectful treatment.

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Even as Israel agreed to a new cease-fire with Hamas, raising hopes for an end to four weeks of bloodshed, its relationship with the United States has been bruised by repeated clashes, from the withering Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peacemaking efforts to Mr. Netanyahu’s dressing down of the American ambassador to Israel.

President Obama has had few levers to influence Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on the current conflict in Gaza. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
“This is the most sustained period of antagonism in the relationship,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel who now teaches at Princeton. “I don’t know how the relationship recovers as long as you have this president and this prime minister.”

And yet, with public opinion in both Israel and the United States solidly behind the Israeli military’s campaign against Hamas, no outcry from Israel’s Arab neighbors, and unstinting support for Israel on Capitol Hill, President Obama has had few obvious levers to force Mr. Netanyahu to stop pounding targets in Gaza until he was ready to do it.

On Monday, the Israeli prime minister signaled that moment had come. Amid signs it was prepared to wind down the conflict unilaterally, Israel announced it would accept a 72-hour cease-fire, effective Tuesday, and send a delegation to Cairo to negotiate for a lasting end to the violence.

Even as the White House harshly criticized the Israeli strike on the school, the Pentagon confirmed that last Friday it had resupplied the Israeli military with ammunition under a longstanding military aid agreement. Mr. Obama swiftly signed a bill Monday giving Israel $225 million in emergency aid for its Iron Dome antimissile system.

For all its outrage over civilian casualties, the United States steadfastly backs Israel’s right to defend itself and shares Israel’s view that Hamas is a terrorist organization. In a world of bitter enmities, the Israeli-American dispute is more akin to a family quarrel.

The White House seems determined to tamp down the latest eruption in tensions. “The nature of our relationship is strong and unchanged,” the press secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters on Monday, pointing to comments by Mr. Netanyahu over the weekend, in which he said, “I think the United States has been terrific.”

The two statements are part of a recurring pattern for this administration: an angry outburst, followed by calmer words and the grudging recognition that little is going to change in the fundamental relationship between the United States and its closest ally in the Middle East.

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Disputes between the United States and Israel are hardly new. President Ronald Reagan sold Awacs surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia over Israel’s fierce objections. George H.W. Bush held up loan guarantees because of Israeli settlement construction. Bill Clinton fumed after his first Oval Office encounter with a newly elected Israeli prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu.

But the chronic nature of this tension is unusual — and, according to current and former officials, rooted in ill will at the very top. “You have a backdrop of a very acrimonious relationship between the president and the prime minister of Israel,” said Robert M. Danin, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

While tensions between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu only occasionally spill into the open, Mr. Kerry became the subject of very public and vitriolic — albeit anonymous — criticism from Israeli officials for his efforts two weeks ago to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. His proposal, the officials said, was tilted in favor of Hamas and did not do enough to protect Israel’s security.

Mr. Kerry, American officials responded, based his efforts on an Egyptian cease-fire proposal that had already been accepted by the Israelis. He submitted his ideas to the Israelis, anticipating that they would have concerns. Whatever the precise circumstances, Mr. Kerry found himself excoriated across the political spectrum in Israel.

At the White House, officials were incensed by what they saw as shabby treatment of Mr. Kerry, a loyal friend of Israel. In addition to the cease-fire and the peace talks, they noted, Mr. Kerry went to bat for Israel with the Federal Aviation Administration after it imposed a ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv following a rocket attack near Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, voiced her anger to her Israeli counterpart, while Mr. Obama held a tense telephone call with Mr. Netanyahu last week, during which he demanded that Israel agree to a cease-fire.

“I cannot for the life of me understand why the Israelis would do this to Kerry,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity. “If it was designed to pressure us, I don’t know to what end.”

Adding to the tensions was a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel that Israel wiretapped Mr. Kerry’s telephone during his peace negotiations. A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, declined to comment but said Mr. Kerry took pains to protect his communications.

Although Mr. Netanyahu has insisted he will not end the operation in Gaza until Israel has shut down the tunnels that Hamas uses to launch attacks on Israel, a senior American official predicted that the tough State Department statement would “box them in internationally.”

Mr. Netanyahu, however, has shown little evidence of wavering. American officials said that after the previous cease-fire fell apart on Friday, Mr. Netanyahu scolded the American ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, saying the United States should not “ever second-guess him again” on how to deal with Hamas.

Responding to the White House’s outrage, Mr. Netanyahu dispatched his ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, to defend Mr. Kerry, saying the attacks on him were “unwarranted.” But Mr. Dermer insisted that the harsh words did not reveal a deeper dysfunction in Israel’s relationship with the United States.

“It’s a lack of appreciation of how Israeli discourse works,” he said. “It’s your average Jewish Friday night family meal, taken to the hundredth power.”

Still, after a hectic week of television interviews to defend Israel’s operation in Gaza, Mr. Dermer acknowledged that the United States and Israel would never perceive the threat from Hamas exactly the same way.

“When you’re thinking about your survival every day,” he said, “you tend to think about these issues differently.”

Helene Cooper contributed reporting.

August 5, 2014 | 11 Comments »

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  1. The western mass media claiming to cover Gaza pay a heavy ransom to the genocidal fascists. The price for their silence is the preservation of their life. Better keep alive and publish false info and be complicit in this vast campaign of disinformation. What goes around will eventually come back around and decimate the western world for their moral TURPITUDE. The same Western world today couldn’t care less about the Jews during WWII.

  2. What You Aren’t Supposed to Know about America’s Closest Ally

    The Qataris, and their ruling al-Thani family, are slavers, narcotics traffickers, and financiers of international terrorism. They also happen to be America’s closest ally under Obama.

    When analyzing the foreign policy interventions of the Obama administration with respect to the Middle East, it is hard to reconcile their respective approaches Libya (2011) and Iraq (2014).

    In 2011, Obama justified the military action to remove Muammar Gaddafi on the basis of anticipated genocide by the Gaddafi regime. Speaking at the National Defense University on March 28, 2011, Obama explained “I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” In October of that year, Gaddafi was discovered by Libyan rebels, many whom were Islamists linked to al Qaeda, sodomized, and summarily executed. It is worth recalling that Gaddafi had been, since shortly after 9/11/2001, effectively an American ally, if an imperfect one, in the war on terror.

    Yet following the fall of Mosul to ISIS in June 2014, and the subsequent exposure by the press of their horrific war crimes, the Obama administration acted strangely inert. The execution of defenseless Iraqi soldiers shocked the world, and ISIS (now known as the Islamic State, or IS) made no effort to hide their crimes: indeed, they proudly advertise them on YouTube. Despite the visual evidence of systematic war crimes and mass murder (à la the Nazi Einsatzgruppen), Obama announced that he would not provide air support for the Iraqi Army. Under the supervision of the Obama administration, Iraq has gone from relatively stable following the 2007 “surge,” to being occupied in large part by a genocidal army that targets Christians, Shiites, and all secularly-minded Muslims.

    How does one reconcile Obama’s actions in Libya, which were allegedly precautionary in nature, to his non-action in Iraq, which amounted to declining to intervene in an actual, real, and ongoing genocide? The most obvious way to explain this is through the lens of America’s closest ally these days, the tiny Middle Eastern peninsula in the Persian Gulf: Qatar.

    Qatar, from the very beginning, has been the primary agitator for the “Arab Spring.” Qatari forces were on ground in Libya, training rebels and planning their battles; and they were in the air, conducting air strikes with Dassault Mirage French-made fighter jets. The Qataris are one of the main benefactors of the Syrian rebels, where the murderous Islamic State began to coalesce. (ISIS was the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, after all.) In deposing Gaddafi and attempting to depose Bashar Assad in Syria, it can be said truthfully that the Obama administration and al-Thanis in Qatar were, and are, partners.

    Read more

  3. yamit82 Said:

    By strengthening his ties with Hamas, Abbas is burying any chance of a peaceful solution with Israel.

    the western nations and GCC have been promoting the arab plan for a decade and the current phase is a unity gov with a weakened or deposed hamas so that they can enter the next phase of their plan. Israel knows this but the question is how many Israelis would accept the arab peace plan if gaza was demilitarized and their west bank security needs were answered to their “satisfaction”? Perhaps the only conflict of this plan with BB is whether demilitarization of gaza occurs before lifting the blockade or simultaneously, or afterwards. It appears to me that BB accepts the idea that the PA take over Gaza, which was the GOI view when sharon left.

  4. Palestinians: United Against Israel
    by Khaled Abu Toameh

    By strengthening his ties with Hamas, Abbas is burying any chance of a peaceful solution with Israel.

    Despite predictions to the contrary, the unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas seems not only alive and well, but stronger than ever.

    Over the past month, the two parties have been waging separate wars against Israel – one (Hamas) on the battlefield and the second (Fatah) in the international arena.

  5. Obama and Kerry need to shut their traps and let the Israelis defend their country. It has been shown that if Israel does not cave, the US government backs down.

  6. Send this to OBAMA and the NYT. 🙂

    Math vs. Anti-Semitic Propaganda

    Operation Protective Edge Has a 1:1 Civilian to Combatant Casualty Ratio.

    Operation Protective Edge has a 1:1 civilian to combatant casualty ratio, a ratio far lower than the average of 3:1 since WWII. (For reference, the U.S.-led Iraq war from 2003 to 2013 averaged 3.35:1 civilian to combatant casualty ratio.) To show the casualty ratio for Operation Protective Edge, we will simply leave the age ranges 0-15 and 65-100+ intact from the data, since these are age ranges that will most likely not include combatants.

  7. she asked ” where is safe in gaza”?
    my answer “I don’t know and I don’t care, they should figure that out before they fire rockets.

    All questions regarding civilian casualties should be referred to hamas
    How many dead gazans is acceptable?
    my answer: Dont know, ask hamas, when they stop firing their people will stop dying
    All the questions relate to one solution
    When hamas stop firings and demilitarizes they will stop dying.
    keep the answers simple and relate them back to their firing.

  8. How could they be so stupid? Ted Belman

    Not “stupid” but Devilish

    Stupid implies that that don’t know what they are doing.

    I submit they know exactly what they are doing , why they are doing it and what they expect to be the results.

    American soldier shot in Egypt’s Sinai

    Obama pledges 47 million dollars to Gaza for Tunnels and rockets. 225 Million dollars for Israeli Iron Dome.

    Hmmm America finances the Hamas rockets and the Israeli rockets that destroy the Hamas rockets they help to finance…. That’s Devilish!!!
    US military man was with group charged with monitoring implementation of 1979 peace treaty

    Read more: American soldier shot in Egypt’s Sinai | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/american-soldier-shot-in-egypts-sinai/#ixzz39UbQXqzL
    Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook