Obama har utsett Israel till fiende nummer 1 i Mellanöstern

Obama Admin Finally Identifies Its Real Middle East Enemy: Israel.

Obama Administration Finally Identifies The Middle East’s Biggest Problem:Israel

The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg has written a piece detailing the deteriorating relationship between Israel and the Obama administration. The chief purpose of Goldberg’s piece is to humiliate Benjamin Netanyahu. None of this is especially shocking, considering the antagonism the administration has shown towards the Jewish State from the start. It’s the sort of antipathy Goldberg identified as Jewish paranoia back in 2008.

Goldberg begins his piece with the following:

The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. ‘The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,’ this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

Most people have focused on the name-calling, and Goldberg keeps a list of pejoratives used by U.S. officials to describe Netanyahu, including “aspergery.” On that front, it’s worth noting that the person being repeatedly being called “chickenshit” by an anonymous officials volunteered for the Israeli Defense Force, saw combat, and was the leader of an elite special-forces unit deployed on numerous missions, including the freeing of hijacked Sabena Flight in 1972, where he was shot. Granted, this might not be as courageous as hopping the Amtrak from Delaware to DC each day or rallying the troops at a fundraiser in Greenwich, but God knows we can’t all be heroes.

Is Netanyahu a political coward? Perhaps. But not for any of the reasons offered by the administration. Is he arrogant? I’m sure he is. Is being anti-Netanyahu tantamount to being anti-Israel? Well, no. Though it’s certainly fair to point out that the administration’s public demeaning of an ally’s elected leader—almost certainly with the blessing of higher ups—is nearly unheard of.

But you know what is unmistakably anti-Israel? Gloating over how the United States has strong-armed Israel into living with a nuclear Iran, which seems like significant news to me:

This official agreed that Netanyahu is a ‘chickenshit’ on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a ‘coward’ on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. ‘It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.’

At the United Nations a few years, Obama reportedly offered to do whatever it took to prevent Iran from producing atomic weapons in exchange for Israeli assurances that it would not attack Iran’s nuclear sites before the presidential election in 2012. (And to think, Obama officials have the audacity to whine about Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career-preservation.”) One side kept its promise. Obama has repeatedly vowed, since his first run for president, to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Maybe that promise that never should have been made. Now, though, the administration claims it’s too late. Now it claims American pressure helped dissuade Israel from defending itself. And now, there is nothing Israel can do about it.

Knowing this, why anyone would expect Israel to trust John Kerry or Barack Obama to forge a peace deal with a Fatah-Hamas unity government is a mystery.

Israel isn’t completely innocent in this mess, of course. Cabinet member Moshe Ya’alon, for instance, was quoted referring to Kerry as “obsessive and messianic” earlier this year. But Ya’alon has since apologized a number of times. But earlier this month Ya’alon was in Washington—the defense minister of our closest ally in the Middle East—and his requests to meet with senior members of the Obama administration were declined. The administration waited until the visit ended before leaking the snub to humiliate the Israeli defense minister. It’s the sort of thing that’s been going on since 2008.

So what happens next? Well, considering his access, when Goldberg “imagines” what’s coming, I imagine someone in the know told him what to imagine. So, if Abbas asks for recognition of Palestine in the United Nations, as he’s expected to do again, the United States will likely block the initiative in the Security Council. But, as Goldberg notes, the Obama administration may also participate in a “stridently anti-settlement resolution” that would isolate Israel from the international community and pressure it to create a judenfrei West Bank and an indefensible Jerusalem.

Now, that would be anti-Israel, too.

Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him, seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: ‘The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.’ For an Israeli public traumatized by Hamas violence and anti-Semitism, and by fear that the chaos and brutality of the Arab world will one day sweep over them, this formula has its charms. But for Israel’s future as an ally of the United States, this formula is a disaster.

Not really. It’s unlikely we’re going to elect another president driven by a similarly hostile inclination towards Israel. Maybe the American public will turn on Israel at some point, but that point isn’t here yet. Even if it were, one imagines that any Israel government, Left or Right, would have to take its chances alone rather than participate in setting up another mini terror state on its border.

It must be very frustrating to believe that a nation acts in its own best interests rather than the interests of an American political party. Despite Bibi’s assurances that he wouldn’t mess with the president’s 2012 campaign, it is he, out of all the leaders in the all the world, who frustrates Obama most. Not Russian autocrats who invade sovereign nations. Not genocidal Arab dictators. Netanyahu. I forget which sycophantic liberal pundit pointed out on Twitter that this makes sense since we’re prone to be frustrated more by our friends than our enemies. For that to be true, one would have to accept the dubious notion that the president ever considered Israel a “friend” in any special sense.

Is there any other friend treated similarly? Trust me, you’re never going to hear a senior State Department official refer to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as a chickenshit theocrat. In fact, when the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, both friends of ours in the Middle East, were justifiably called out by Joe Biden for their roles in helping to strengthen the Islamic State, the vice president was quickly dispatched to ask for forgiveness from both the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Turkish President Erdogan. Apologize to the leader of Turkey. Call the leader of Israel a coward. That about encapsulates American foreign policy the past few years.

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Obama administrationen har palestinska terrorister på lönelistan

New York judge keeps key docs on terrorist salaries under seal

BY:
October 29, 2014 5:00 am

via U.S.  Judge Shields Palestinian Terrorists from Scrutiny | Washington Free Beacon.

 

Reporters are taking legal action to force a U.S. District Court to publicly disclose secret documents that are believed to provide new details about payments made to terrorists by the Palestinian government, according to court documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Lawyers have been fighting for months to force a U.S. District Court in New York to unseal scores of documents and testimony that allegedly detail how the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has been paying salaries to convicted terrorists.

The sealed documents were submitted to the court as part of a 2004 lawsuitbrought by terrorism victims seeking damages from the PLO as a result of their attacks on Israel.

The victims’ lawyers have argued for months that the documents in question play a critical role in establishing the PLO’s culpability and should be released to the public.

However, Judge George B. Daniels has rejected this request on the basis that the documents may reveal personal information about purported terrorists and potentially “undermine” the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) interests, according to court documents.

As the case drags on, several reporters filed a motion on Monday to intervene in the case and force the court to unseal the sealed documents.

Investigative reporters Sharyl Attkisson, Steve Emerson, and Edwin Black jointly filed the motion announcing their intent to pursue intervention in the case with a motion meant to compel the “unsealing [of] certain judicial documents,” according to court documents obtained by the Free Beacon.

Atkinson is a former CBS reporter who has said she faced a backlash from the Obama administration for her stories, Emerson is an author and executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), and Black is an author and columnist known for his exposés on Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

The reporters assert in multiple briefs that the public has a right to see the court documents detailing the Palestinian government’s alleged financial support of terrorists.

“We’re confident that the court will take this motion very seriously because it’s based on well-established constitutional law,” Ronald Coleman, a lawyer representing the reporters told the Free Beacon on Tuesday. “The legal standards mandating public access to public judicial proceedings are applied strictly in matters of public concern. And this litigation is certainly such a case.”

In March, lawyers from the firm Miller and Chevalier, which is representing the PLO and PA against the terrorism charges, moved to put 57 documents and 51 pages of testimony under court seal.

They argued that public revelation of the evidence could compromise “law enforcement” interests and disclose “private third-party information,” according to court documents.

The lawyers representing the terror victims countered that the documents in question are critical and that “limited redactions” could effectively ensure that personal information is protected.

“The Court should not permit defendants to hide the overwhelming evidence of their deep involvement in a relentless terrorism campaign,” the plaintiff’s lawyer Kent Yalowitz wrote in a partially redacted March 27 letter to Judge Daniels.

Much of the information being kept secret is said to reveal employment records for Palestinian security officials who are on the government’s official payroll as a result of terror acts they carried out, according to court testimony.

Others reveal how much money the PLO and PA are paying “convicted terrorists on a month-by-month basis,” Yalowitz explained during an April court hearing about the order to seal the documents.

Some of the other sealed documents that the defense maintains is privileged include information relating to “suicide terrorists,” details of promotions given to suspected terrorists, and certain arrest records, court documents show.

The information, Yalowitz maintained, goes “to the merits of defendants’ liability in this case” and proves that the PLO and PA’s “support of terrorism.”

While the Palestinian government’s lawyers maintain that “the specific amount of each payment” to alleged terrorists “reflects private information” that should not be publicly disclosed, Yalowitz maintains that the law does not allow for this.

“The fact that defendants pay generous salaries to convicted terrorists is not confidential,” Yalowitz wrote in his letter.

The court ultimately rejected these arguments and sided with the Palestinian government’s request to seal the documents and keep them from public view.

The decision to keep the information private is what prompted Monday’s actionby Attkinsson, Emerson, and Black calling for intervention in the case.

The reporters maintain that “there is no legal basis for maintaining a cloak of secrecy over the contents of public filings in this litigation to which the press and public are presumptively entitled access,” according to court filings made this week on their behalf.

They claim that given the case’s global implications, the public has a right to view the information under seal.

“Given the nature of the litigation and the documents involved, there is substantial reason to believe that the information thus freed from improper occlusion would reveal an unlawful, pernicious, and murderous system established and organized by the defendant to reward or ‘compensate’ the families of suicide bombers and other self-styled Palestinian ‘martyrs,’” they write in their memorandum to the court.

Past reports issued by the Israeli government and others have revealed that Palestinian terrorists can receive monthly stipends of up to $3,500 and grants of up to $25,000.

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Det var islamisten Obama och inte Netanyahu som skapade krisen mellan USA och Israel

Obama, Not Bibi, Created U.S.-Israel Crisis « Commentary Magazine.

Since Barack Obama became president, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has been a reliable indicator of administration opinion about foreign-policy issues. Like some other journalists who can be counted on to support the president, he has been the recipient of some juicy leaks, especially when the White House wants to trash Israel’s government.

But Goldberg and his “senior administration sources” reached a new low today when he published a piece in which those anonymous figures labeled Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “chickenshit” and a “coward.” The remarks are clearly not so much a warning to the Israelis to stop complaining about the U.S. push for appeasement of a nuclear Iran and the administration’s clueless approach to the conflict with the Palestinians. Rather the story is, as Goldberg rightly characterizes it, a genuine crisis in the relationship.

That much is plain but where Goldberg and the talkative administration members are wrong is their belief that this is all Netanyahu’s fault. Their attacks on him are not only plainly false but are motivated by a desire to find an excuse that will be used to justify a drastic turn in U.S. foreign policy against Israel.

The administration critique of Netanyahu as a coward stems from its disgust with his failure to make peace with the Palestinians as well as their impatience with his criticisms of their zeal for a deal with Iran even if it means allowing the Islamist regime to become a threshold nuclear power. But this is about more than policy. The prickly Netanyahu is well known to be a tough guy to like personally even if you are one of his allies. But President Obama and his foreign-policy team aren’t just annoyed by the prime minister. They’ve come to view him as public enemy No. 1, using language about him and giving assessments of his policies that are far harsher than they have ever used against even avowed enemies of the United States, let alone one of its closest allies.

So rather than merely chide him for caution they call him a coward and taunt him for being reluctant to make war on Hamas and even to launch a strike on Iran. They don’t merely castigate him as a small-time politician without vision; they accuse him of putting his political survival above the interests of his nation.

It’s quite an indictment but once you get beyond the personal dislike of the individual on the part of the president, Secretary of State Kerry, and any other “senior officials” that speak without attribution on the subject of Israel’s prime minister, all you have is a thin veil of invective covering up six years of Obama administration failures in the Middle East that have the region more dangerous for both Israel and the United States. For all of his personal failings, it is not Netanyahu—a man who actually served as a combat soldier under fire in his country’s most elite commando unit—who is a coward or a small-minded failure. It is Obama and Kerry who have fecklessly sabotaged a special relationship, an act whose consequences have already led to disaster and bloodshed and may yet bring worse in their final two years of power.

It was, after all, Obama (and in the last two years, Kerry) who has spent his time in office picking pointless fights with Israel over issues like settlements and Jerusalem. They were pointless not because there aren’t genuine disagreements between the two countries on the ideal terms for peace. But rather because the Palestinians have never, despite the administration’s best efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their favor, seized the chance for peace. No matter how much Obama praises Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and slights Netanyahu, the former has never been willing to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. They also chose to launch a peace process in spite of the fact that the Palestinians remain divided between Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas-ruled Gaza, a situation that makes it impossible for the PA to make peace even if it wanted to do so. The result of their heedless push for negotiations that were bound to fail was another round of violence this summer and the possibility of another terrorist intifada in the West Bank.

On Iran, it has not been Netanyahu’s bluffing about a strike that is the problem but Obama’s policies. Despite good rhetoric about stopping Tehran’s push for a nuke, the president has pursued a policy of appeasement that caused it to discard its significant military and economic leverage and accept a weak interim deal that began the process of unraveling the international sanctions that represented the best chance for a solution without the use of force.

Even faithful Obama supporter Goldberg understands that it would be madness for Israel to withdraw from more territory and replicate the Gaza terror experiment in the West Bank. He also worries that the administration is making a “weak” Iran deal even though he may be the only person on the planet who actually thinks Obama would use force to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.

So why is the administration so angry with Netanyahu? It can’t be because Netanyahu is preventing peace with the Palestinians. After the failure of Kerry’s fool’s errand negotiations and the Hamas missile war on Israel, not even Obama can think peace is at hand. Nor does he really think Netanyahu can stop him from appeasing Iran if Tehran is willing to sign even a weak deal.

The real reason to target Netanyahu is that it is easier to scapegoat the Israelis than to own up to the administration’s mistakes. Rather than usher in a new era of good feelings with the Arab world in keeping with his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama has been the author of policies that have left an already messy Middle East far more dangerous. Rather than ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his decision to withdraw U.S. troops and to dither over the crisis in Syria led to more conflict and the rise of ISIS. Instead of ending the Iranian nuclear threat, Obama is on the road to enabling it. And rather than manage an Israeli-Palestinian standoff that no serious person thought was on the verge of resolution, Obama made things worse with his and Kerry’s hubristic initiatives and constant bickering with Israel.

Despite the administration’s insults, it is not Netanyahu who is weak. He has shown great courage and good judgment in defending his country’s interests even as Obama has encouraged the Palestinians to believe they can hold out for even more unrealistic terms while denying Israel the ammunition it needed to fight Hamas terrorists. While we don’t know whether, as Goldberg believes, it is too late for Israel to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, it is Obama that Iran considers weak as it plays U.S. negotiators for suckers in the firm belief that the U.S. is a paper tiger that is not to be feared any longer.

If there is a crisis, it is one that was created by Obama’s failures and inability to grasp that his ideological prejudices were out of touch with Middle East realities.

The next two years may well see, as Goldberg ominously predicts, even more actions by the administration to downgrade the alliance with Israel. But the blame for this will belong to a president who has never been comfortable with Israel and who has, at every conceivable opportunity, sought conflict with it even though doing so did not advance U.S. interests or the cause of peace. No insult directed at Netanyahu, no matter how crude or pointless, can cover up the president’s record of failure.

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IDF varnar för att Hezbollah har terrortunnlar från Libanon i norra Israel

IDF Northern Commander: ‘Hezbollah Likely Has Terror Tunnels’After playing down threat, IDF acknowledges likelihood of attack tunnels from Lebanon, warning ‘can’t use Iron Dome there.’

By Ari Yashar

First Publish: 10/29/2014, 2:08 PM

via IDF Northern Cdr.: ‘Hezbollah Likely Has Tunnels’ – Defense/Security – News – Arutz Sheva.

 

Hezbollah terrorists (file)

Hezbollah terrorists (file)
Reuters

A senior IDF commander on Wednesday acknowledged to Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio) that the Iran-proxy terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon has likely dug terror tunnels into Israel.

IDF Northern Commander Maj. Gen. Yair Golan equivocated by noting on Hamas’s use of terror tunnels, saying “we have no positive information meaning that there are tunnels. The situation is not similar to what there was around the Gaza Strip,” reports Reuters.

“That said, this idea of going below ground is not foreign to Lebanon and is not foreign to Hezbollah and so we have to suppose as a working assumption that there are tunnels. These have to be looked for and prepared for,” revealed Golan.

Golan in August responded to northern citizens, who reported hearing digging sounds under their homes and seeing cement mixers and construction trucks carting out earth on the Lebanese side under the cover of greenhouse structures, by saying the IDF hadn’t found Hezbollah terror tunnels – yet.

While the IDF has been playing down the northern tunnel threat, IDF sources have reported to Arutz Sheva that the army is covertly conducting an investigation of the threat.

The usage of similar attack tunnels by Syrian rebels in their fight against President Bashar Assad in rocky terrain similar to that found along the Israeli-Lebanese border has proven the feasibility of a Hezbollah tunnel attack.

“We won’t be able to use Iron Dome”

Golan warned that with Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal – thought to be ten times more powerful than that of Hamas – and the high elevations and inclinations, “we will not be able to provide the umbrella that was provided in the south by Iron Dome.”

“We and Hezbollah are conducting a kind of mutual-deterrence balance. There is no absolute deterrence. Each side has its pain threshold, its restraint threshold, which when passed prompt it to take action,” assessed Golan.

The statements comes after Hezbollah terrorists wounded two IDF soldiersearlier in the month with explosives set along the border. Security sources warned Israel may be in danger of “losing control” of the Lebanese border, after one IDF source caused a panic last month by warning Hezbollah could hypothetically invade parts of the Galilee for “several hours.”

While Israel this month asked the UN to demand the disarmament of Hezbollah following the explosive attack, instead, a UN envoy met with Hezbollah’s deputy leader.

American and Arab officials likewise revealed this week that US President Barack Obama’s administration has been cozying up to Hezbollah, along with Iran and Hamas, by providing intelligence information and using backdoor communication channels.

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Netanyahu försvarar Israel men Obama kallar honom “chickenshit”

Netanyahu ‘will continue to stand for Israeli interests’ | The Times of Israel.

 

Premier’s office rejects bitter US criticism in The Atlantic, where one official called him ‘chickenshit,’ amid reports of a ‘full-blown crisis’

October 29, 2014, 4:37 am Updated: October 29, 2014, 6:20 am 24

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash90)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash90)

The Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday rebuffed a report in The Atlantic of withering US criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where one senior US official was quoted as calling the Israeli leader “a chickenshit.”

Sources in the office told Israel Radio Netanyahu “will continue to stand for Israeli interests, and no pressure will change this.”

On Tuesday night Economy Minister Naftali Bennett responded strongly to the harsh statements by unnamed officials, calling them an affront to Jews throughout the world and urging Washington to renounce them.

A piece in The Atlantic on Tuesday said US anger at the Netanyahu government was “red hot” and that the relationship between Jerusalem and Washington was now in a “full-blown crisis,” with one senior US official calling the Israeli leader “a chickenshit” over his perceived reluctance to risk political clout for diplomatic headway with the Palestinians and moderate Arab states.

Bennett wrote on his Facebook page: “If what was written [in The Atlantic] is true, then it appears the current administration plans to throw Israel under the bus.”

“Not the leader of Syria who has massacred 150,000 of his citizens, nor the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and homosexuals, nor the leader of Iran who murdered demonstrators for freedom were called ‘chickenshit,’” Bennett opined.

“The prime minister is not a private person but the leader of the Jewish state and the whole Jewish world. Such severe insults towards the prime minister of Israel are hurtful to millions of Israeli citizens and Jews all over the world,” he wrote.

“Israel is the only democratic nation in the Middle East and has been fighting for its existence for 66 years. Israel is the forward bastion of the free world in the face of the Islamic terrorism of Islamic State, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran,” he added. “Instead of attacking Israel and forcing it to accept suicidal terms, it should be strengthened. I call on the US administration to renounce these coarse comments and to reject them outright.”

According to the report in The Atlantic, US officials increasingly see the Israeli leader as acting out of a “near-pathological desire for career-preservation” and not much more.

Writer Jeffrey Goldberg observed that the relationship between Obama, Netanyahu and their respective cabinets was “the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections.”

Diplomatic rhetoric has heated up in recent days as the US used strong terms to condemn Netanyahu’s Monday approval for a thousand new homes in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Israel’s continued building across the Green Line was “incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.”

But Netanyahu rebuffed the criticism from American, European and Palestinian leaders.

“We have built in Jerusalem, we are building in Jerusalem and we will continue to build in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “I have heard a claim that our construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes peace more distant. It is the criticism which is making peace more distant.”

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Obama vill delegitimera Israel genom ett avtal med Iran

An Iran deal in which both sides can claim victory | The Times of Israel.

 

Recent comments by the US nuclear negotiator suggest an agreement could be close at hand

  October 29, 2014, 6:41 am

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman; Britain's Director General, Political, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Offic Simon Gass; Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov; German representative in the Iran nuclear talks Hans-Dieter Lucas; French Foreign Ministry Political Director Nicolas DeRiviere; and Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Min, attend a E3+3 meeting on Iran's nuclear program at the United Nations in New York on September 19, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman; Britain’s Director General, Political, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Offic Simon Gass; Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov; German representative in the Iran nuclear talks Hans-Dieter Lucas; French Foreign Ministry Political Director Nicolas DeRiviere; and Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Min, attend a E3+3 meeting on Iran’s nuclear program at the United Nations in New York on September 19, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Is the Obama administration preparing the ground for an Iran nuclear deal — one in which both sides can claim victory?

Wendy Sherman, the top US negotiator, in an unusually detailed and optimistic speech on October 23, for the first time suggested that the pieces of a deal were in place and all that was needed was Iranian willingness to wrap it up by the November 24 deadline.

“I can tell you that all the components of a plan that should be acceptable to both sides are on the table,” Sherman, an undersecretary of state, said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies symposium here on the talks. “We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

The United States and other major powers have said that a deal would have to include a tough inspections regime, disabling a plutonium reactor at the Arak nuclear facility and a sharp reduction in Iran’s enrichment capability. Sherman named the capability condition as the sticking point of “this painstaking and difficult negotiation.”

Alireza Nader, an Iran analyst at the Rand Corp., a think tank that has advised the Pentagon, said that Sherman was referring to a “red line” laid down over the summer by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khameini, when he said Iran would not dismantle any of its more than 19,000 centrifuges. Of those centrifuges, more than 9,000 are believed to be operational.

The United States reportedly wants that reduced to 4,500 centrifuges, which it believes will keep Iran from reaching weapons breakout ability.

“I’m not sure Iran is going to stick with that maximalist position,” said Nader, who said that in the wake of Sherman’s speech, he would not rule out a deal by November 24.

Mark Dubowitz, the director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank who has helped shape congressional sanctions on Iran and been a skeptic of the talks, said there could be creative workarounds in which both sides could claim victory on the centrifuges issue.

For instance, Dubowitz said, the pipes connecting the majority of the centrifuges could be removed and placed under supervision or destroyed. Under this plan, the Iranians could claim that all 19,000 centrifuges remained in place, while the major powers would be able to say that only a limited number are operational.

“I think President Obama clearly wants a deal, and has instructed the negotiators to get a deal, and has floated a number of creative proposals to accommodate the supreme leader’s red lines,” Dubowitz said.

Notably, Israel and its US advocates appear to have gently backed away from a previous insistence that Iran not be allowed any enrichment capacity.

Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence minister who has been Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s point man in making Israel’s case abroad on Iran, no longer explicitly calls for an end to enrichment in his advocating for a deal that would keep Iran from breakout capacity.

In an October 19 Op-Ed in The New York Times, Steinitz instead insisted that any deal should provide “clarity” on “the quantity and quality of Iran’s remaining operational centrifuges” and “the final destiny of its remaining centrifuges and their infrastructure.”

Notably, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in its latest talking points memo on Iran also backed away from explicit calls for an end to enrichment.

“Will Iran dismantle its centrifuge infrastructure so that it has no uranium path to a nuclear weapon?” AIPAC asked in outlining the conditions for an acceptable Iran deal — language that could conceivably allow for an enrichment capability, as long as it falls short of a “path to a nuclear weapon.”

Israel’s hard line on enrichment made sense, Dubowitz said.

“It’s actually helpful for the administration for the Israelis to talk about enrichment,” he said. “It helps to make the case that the enrichment has to be very, very small.”

A Foreign Ministry official in Germany, one of the six powers in talks with Iran, told JTA that a deal would “probably allow Iran more centrifuges, more enrichment than Israel would like.”

However, Tobias Tunkel, the deputy head of the division of the German Foreign Ministry that deals with Israel, said that the major powers “will make sure it is watertight that allows no breakout.”

Sherman in her speech said that if the talks fail, “responsibility will be seen by all to rest with Iran.”

Trita Parsi, the director of the National Iranian American Council, a group that has strongly backed the talks, said that positioning Iran to take the blame should the talks fail was a key message for Sherman, but added that the reverse held as well: Should Congress, spurred by pro-Israel groups, scuttle a deal, it would be blamed.

“If there is a deal and the entire world is ready for it,” he said, “it’s going to be very costly for the Congress to push against it.”

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Krisen mellan USA och Israel är nu offentlig – efter valet kastar islamisten Obama Israel åt vargarna

The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here – The Atlantic.

 

The Obama administration’s anger is “red-hot” over Israel’s settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama’s understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.

Not friends at all (Reuters )

The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis.

The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

The fault for this breakdown in relations can be assigned in good part to the junior partner in the relationship, Netanyahu, and in particular, to the behavior of his cabinet. Netanyahu has told several people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached.

For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process.

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)  But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.”

I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

This assessment represents a momentous shift in the way the Obama administration sees Netanyahu. In 2010, and again in 2012, administration officials were convinced that Netanyahu and his then-defense minister, the cowboyish ex-commando Ehud Barak, were readying a strike on Iran. To be sure, the Obama administration used the threat of an Israeli strike in a calculated way to convince its allies (and some of its adversaries) to line up behind what turned out to be an effective sanctions regime.

But the fear inside the White House of a preemptive attack (or preventative attack, to put it more accurately) was real and palpable—as was the fear of dissenters inside Netanyahu’s Cabinet, and at Israel Defense Forces headquarters. At U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, analysts kept careful track of weather patterns and of the waxing and waning moon over Iran, trying to predict the exact night of the coming Israeli attack.

Today, there are few such fears. “The feeling now is that Bibi’s bluffing,” this second official said. “He’s not Begin at Osirak,” the official added, referring to the successful 1981 Israeli Air Force raid ordered by the ex-prime minister on Iraq’s nuclear reactor.

The belief that Netanyahu’s threat to strike is now an empty one has given U.S. officials room to breathe in their ongoing negotiations with Iran. You might think that this new understanding of Netanyahu as a hyper-cautious leader would make the administration somewhat grateful. Sober-minded Middle East leaders are not so easy to come by these days, after all. But on a number of other issues, Netanyahu does not seem sufficiently sober-minded.

Another manifestation of his chicken-shittedness, in the view of Obama administration officials, is his near-pathological desire for career-preservation. Netanyahu’s government has in recent days gone out of its way to a) let the world know that it will quicken the pace of apartment-building in disputed areas of East Jerusalem; and b) let everyone know of its contempt for the Obama administration and its understanding of the Middle East.

Settlement expansion, and the insertion of right-wing Jewish settlers into Arab areas of East Jerusalem, are clear signals by Netanyahu to his political base, in advance of possible elections next year, that he is still with them, despite his rhetorical commitment to a two-state solution. The public criticism of Obama policies is simultaneously heartfelt, and also designed to mobilize the base.

Just yesterday, Netanyahu criticized those who condemn Israeli expansion plans in East Jerusalem as “disconnected from reality.” This statement was clearly directed at the State Department, whose spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, had earlier said that, “if Israel wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps that will reduce tensions. Moving forward with this sort of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace.”

It is the Netanyahu government that appears to be disconnected from reality. Jerusalem is on the verge of exploding into a third Palestinian uprising. It is true that Jews have a moral right to live anywhere they want in Jerusalem, their holiest city. It is also true that a mature government understands that not all rights have to be exercised simultaneously. Palestinians believe, not without reason, that the goal of planting Jewish residents in all-Arab neighborhoods is not integration, but domination—to make it as difficult as possible for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem to ever emerge.

Unlike the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, I don’t have any hope for the immediate creation of a Palestinian state (it could be dangerous, at this chaotic moment in Middle East history, when the Arab-state system is in partial collapse, to create an Arab state on the West Bank that could easily succumb to extremism), but I would also like to see Israel foster conditions on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem that would allow for the eventual birth of such a state. This is what the Obama administration wants (and also what Europe wants, and also, by the way, what many Israelis and American Jews want), and this issue sits at the core of the disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem.

Israel and the U.S., like all close allies, have disagreed from time to time on important issues. But I don’t remember such a period of sustained and mutual contempt.

Much of the anger felt by Obama administration officials is rooted in the Netanyahu government’s periodic explosions of anti-American condescension. The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, in particular, has publicly castigated the Obama administration as naive, or worse, on matters related to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Last week, senior officials including Kerry (who was labeled as “obsessive” and “messianic” by Ya’alon) and Susan Rice, the national security advisor, refused to meet with Ya’alon on his trip to Washington, and it’s hard to blame them. (Kerry, the U.S. official most often targeted for criticism by right-wing Israeli politicians, is the only remaining figure of importance in the Obama administration who still believes that Netanyahu is capable of making bold compromises, which might explain why he’s been targeted.)

One of the more notable aspects of the current tension between Israel and the U.S. is the unease felt by mainstream American Jewish leaders about recent Israeli government behavior. “The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel, economically, militarily and politically,” Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me.(UPDATE: Foxman just e-mailed me this statement: “The quote is accurate, but the context is wrong. I was referring to what troubles this administration about Israel, not what troubles leaders in the American Jewish community.”)

What does all this unhappiness mean for the near future? For one thing, it means that Netanyahu—who has preemptively “written off” the Obama administration—will almost certainly have a harder time than usual making his case against a potentially weak Iran nuclear deal, once he realizes that writing off the administration was an unwise thing to do.

This also means that the post-November White House will be much less interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the United Nations, where Israel is regularly scapegoated. The Obama administration may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement policies.

Next year, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, will quite possibly seek full UN recognition for Palestine. I imagine that the U.S. will still try to block such a move in the Security Council, but it might do so by helping to craft a stridently anti-settlement resolution in its place. Such a resolution would isolate Israel from the international community.

It would also be unsurprising, post-November, to see the Obama administration take a step Netanyahu is loath to see it take: a public, full lay-down of the administration’s vision for a two-state solution, including maps delineating Israel’s borders. These borders, to Netanyahu’s horror, would be based on 1967 lines, with significant West Bank settlement blocs attached to Israel in exchange for swapped land elsewhere. Such a lay-down would make explicit to Israel what the U.S. expects of it.

Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him, seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: “The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.” For an Israeli public traumatized by Hamas violence and anti-Semitism, and by fear that the chaos and brutality of the Arab world will one day sweep over them, this formula has its charms.

But for Israel’s future as an ally of the United States, this formula is a disaster.

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