Israeli officials are being quoted today of accusing the United States of fostering protests against the decision of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to build 3,000 settlers’ homes and develop an area of the West Bank. The renewed settlement plans are widely viewed as destabilizing the area and attempting to undermine a viable Palestinian state.
What is most striking is the suggestion that the Obama Administration does not have the guts to confront Israel directly and must politically use surrogates. Five European countries, Australia and Brazil joined other countries in denouncing the move. Netanyahu has responded in his signature way by refusing to yield and going on the attack. His aides have said that the real country opposing the move is the United States. The obvious suggestion is that the Administration does not want to trigger a backlash in Congress by opposing Israel directly so it is using allies to push the issue.
The plans to build 1,700 homes in Ramot Shlomo in east Jerusalem and another 2,600 in Givat Hamatos are moving forward. The Ramot Shlomo development was shelved in 2010 after it provoked a row with the US.
The result is we can now add Israel to Iran, Syria, and Russia as countries claiming U.S. inspired protests.