Should anyone doubt that the new Netanyhau government is on a collison course with the Obama administration, note bene:
Clinton was critical on Tuesday of the “economic peace” plan of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and said that an economic initiative without a political solution had no chance to succeed.
But it should also be noted that the Clinton-Obama approach is still wanting in important respects. Instead of pushing for a full opening of Gaza border crossings, Clinton is satisfied begging for half-measures:
During a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak the Secretary of State said that Israel must do more to open the border crossings into the Gaza Strip to larger amounts of humanitarian assistance so that civilians there could get some relief. She also appealed for a broadening of the list of items that it considers “humanitarian aid,” and called the humanitarian situation there problematic.
…The secretary of state told Barak that it is important to be sensitive to the needs of the Palestinian civilians.
During her meeting with Netanyahu, Clinton said that it is important for Israel to consider whether the closing of the crossings may be more harmful than it is useful.
Nothing short of a complete end of the siege will bring about a stable, long-term ceasefire. Asking Barak to consider adding pasta to the category of foodstuffs permissible to import, as Clinton does here, simply won’t do.
I also wonder whether this statement heard from her in one of her press conferences was intentional or misspeaking:
As good friends, which we are, we might not always have opinions which we express…
If it was intentional, it would mean we’re back to “same old-same old” American beating around the bush (so to speak) when it comes to telling Israel when it crosses red lines. This is the Hillary I’d grown so sick of, toeing the Aipac line so slavishly. One can only hope it was a mistake made after long plane flights and long series of meetings.
In a separate matter, Haaretz also brings chilling news that Lieberman, who seems to be counting his chickens before they’re named foreign minister, has settled on who would be his number 2 should Netanyahu appoint him to the post. His choice is none other than Dov “Formaldehyde” Weisglass. He was the Israeli Machiavelli who back in 2004 had the chutzpah to announce in a public interview that Israel’s evacuation of Gaza was meant as ‘formaldehyde’ to put the peace process into a deep freeze. Here are some of his memorably brazen words which I hope he will yet have to eat (though certainly not regret):
“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz.
“And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”
“The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,” he said. “It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”
There is only one reason to appoint Weisglass to this position: so he can work his embalming magic again. This time though, instead of having a willing patient in George Bush, he will have an unwilling one. I think the embalmer will not have nearly as much success this time.