This is how the pros do it and the Clinton/Obama folk are pros, make no mistake:
The US State Department rebuffed speculation that the administration of President Barack Obama was considering imposing economic sanctions against Israel in order to prevent it from continuing West Bank settlement construction.
Spokesman Phillip Crowley told reporters on Thursday that remarks made by deputy spokesman Robert Wood earlier this week had been “misinterpreted.”
Asked at a press briefing on Tuesday whether the US was considering putting financial pressure on Israel to get it to comply with US demands, Wood had said: “It’s premature to talk about that.“
I’ve written in the past about Obama gradually tightening a noose around Israeli settlement policy until gradually (or so the hope goes) there will be no choice but to accommodate to U.S. pressure to change it. And this is part of the process.
What is deft about this particular series of statements is that the U.S. both plants the idea that it may be willing to consider sanctions if all else fails; and immediately denies the import of the statement in order to make it appear it was a mistake. But the seed has been planted. Now everyone in the Netanyahu government and the Israel lobby is aware of what the next step could be. They know what’s in store if they continue trying to play hardball regarding the settlement freeze and related issues.
RE: “…the U.S. both plants the idea that it may be willing to consider sanctions if all else fails…”
MY COMMENT: All options must remain on the table!
A RELATED ARTICLE: “Israel doesn’t see U.S. limiting loan guarantees”, by By Tova Cohen, Reuters, 07/23/09
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel does not expect the United States to limit use of loan guarantees despite a dispute with Washington over building in East Jerusalem or in West Bank settlements, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Thursday.
“I don’t see any limitations on the horizon. It’s not time to be concerned about that,” Steinitz told reporters…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090723/pl_nm/us_israel_finmin
Yossi Hector. says
[comment deleted for violation of comment rules]
Obama is being attacked from many directions, not only by those who are determined to bring him down but by those who are disappointed that their most earnest desires are not being met immediately. I agree there is reason to believe he has both purpose and plan for achieving peace in the I-P region, and appreciate your ability to indicate how he is engaging with the pitfalls that lay in the path to that achievement.
Isn’t the definition of “sanctions” restrictions on economical or political transactions the target country is normally as entitled to as all others? If so, cutting US aid to Israel, limiting loan guarantees and the like would not be sanctions, because Israel isn’t entitled to these any more than Canada is.
Right, fiddler. It would be more accurate to talk about it as curtailment or modification of the “special relationship”. It shows how skewed pro-Israel America is in its assumptions that a decrease in aid or special privileges is talked about as “sanctions”. Language becomes almost meaningless when it comes to this subject.
Personally, I would like to stop all aid to Israel. Why not spend it it on US. I know, it wouldn’t go to the military, industrial complex. It is really aid to US corporations.
I’d be in favour of stopping all aid and support to Israel and redirecting it to Palestinians and others whose victimization that money and support has aided and abetted.
Yossi Hector says
Richard, do you accept pro Israel comments on your site?
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, but read my comment rules. I do not accept links to propaganda sites of either the pro Israel right or anti Zionist far left. Israel National News is one of those pro-settler sites that is pure propaganda & therefore not permitted. Also, this site is not a debating forum between pro Israel right and the rest of us. If you’re here to score debating pts. this isn’t the place for you. If you want to engage with the issues raised here (even in a critical way) that’s fine. But don’t come here with off topic links to issues that show you’re trying to hector or score pts for yr side. That’s what this blog is here for.
Read the comment rules & read comments written by many commenters who disagree with me but whose comments are not moderated or censored if you want to get a sense for the type of discourse this blog encourages.