Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jerusalem in the News

The events in Jerusalem this week demonstrate the insignificance of blogging. Had I been here I would have spluttered and fumed; this way, all I have to do is point you to Yossi Klein Halevy's fine article, which says it all.

On a related point, I heard a comment yesterday about how at the moment, Israel is more popular in the United States than Obama. Walter Russel Mead tries to take a long view on this, to the extent a contemporary can: it's the Christian Jacksonians who are supporting Israel, more than the (numerically insignificant) Liberal Jews; this underlying structure of American politics is not going to change anytime soon, though it may well add its two bits to shorten the political career of Barack Obama.

And note Mead's article on the Jacksonian tradition, here.


Anonymous said...

I found the most interesting side show the reports that Petraeus wanted to include Israel in his command which he now says he made no FORMAL recommendation for - this lets me assume that something's cooking because otherwise he would have said no recommendation, period, at least that's how it is done in corporate Germany


Gavin said...

There's been a piece missing from this puzzle right from the beginning Yaacov. From what I understand Israel agreed to a moratorium on building in the West Bank. But what does that actually mean? What were the specific terms of that moratorium?

Did the Israel govt neglect to make it clear exactly what the moratorium covered, or is the US being deliberately duplicitous over issues they knew in advance were not part of the deal? Based on media coverage, which may or may not be wildy wrong, the signs are that Israel did not say that the moratorium didn't include established EJ enclaves, and if that's the case then it's their own fault the yanks are so upset. Do you know what the moratorium covered?

Welcome back... nice break I trust(?)

Regards, Gavin

Anonymous said...

up to now I found this section of Slate to be rather fair and reliable but the selection of sources at the end of the piece make me doubt the info this time

"Explainer thanks Francesca Burke of Amnesty International, Ori Nir of Peace Now, and Daniel Seidemann of Ir Amim."
How To Get an Apartment in East Jerusalem
Who builds settlements, and who moves into them?
By Juliet Lapidos
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at 6:30 PM ET

Yaacov said...

Hi Gavin -

It was great, of course, thanks.

I was never in the room when George Mitchell and Netanyahu agreed upon whatever they agreed. According to the Israeli media at the time, however, Netanyahu was very careful to emphasize that the 10-month moratorium would NOT include Jerusalem. Not to mention that he couldn't stop construction even if he wished to: 1. That would be political suicide in Israel; 2. since all of Jerusalem is legally part of Israel (though this is not internationally accepted), it's not clear that the government could stop private construction even if it wished to. The municipality might be able to I suppose, but I don't think the national government could. But I could be wrong about this.

As Klein Halevy points out, part of the story is that construction in Jerusalem is such a routine matter and always has been that the mid-level officials who made their decision the day Biden was in town didn't even necessarily have to have been up to any mischief. They could simply have been going about their business.

Anonymous said...

here is a short history by Barry Rubin ...

my take:
if a PROFESSIONALl negotiator contents himself with vaguely formulated stuff it's his own mistake and he/she should cry wolf afterwards only mutedly.

also I keep wondering how Russia and Iran will be cheered up about all that talk of the US being into regime change while she vows again and again that they had nothing to do with all those colour revolutions.

I wouldn't be so mad, if I could remember an incident where the US had given a similarly public "treatment" to either Germany (while we were re-establishing all those old Nazis in business) or the Palestinians.


Gavin said...

Thanks Yaacov. That's the important bit which both parties seem to be deliberately avoiding. If the US knew that EJ wasn't part of the deal then they should have been sticking up for Israel based on the details of the moratorium. It's a non-event, wasn't part of any deal. Move on people, nothing to see here.

The absence of US support here leads one to believe that either the US is behaving a whole lot worse than people imagine, by deliberately stabbing Israel in the back, or the US genuinely think Israel has reneged on their moratorium agreement. Which is it? It would be nice if even one party clarified things here.

Cheers, Gavin

Sergio said...

Welcome back.

Lucky you that you missed the pathetic visit of president Lula, a real nullity.
I am ashamed of his "performance". Fortunately, no gives a s*&$@ for his views anymore.



Sergio said...

i meant, "no one"...

Avigdor said...

The current American government is turning out to be not much better at diplomacy than the Israelis.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.


Anonymous said...

Mearsheimer chimes in at the LRB, ill-researched and out of date even by yesterday

and this is Michael Oren in the NYT of March 17 - I love writers who produce text that I can understand ...

and today there were rockets ... one man killed and fear revived ...