The ongoing outrage expressed by the White House minions over the Ramat Shlomo building announcement is increasingly being recognised as an “over the top reaction”. The reasons for it are less clear.
One commentary worth reading is from Daniel Greenfield where he likens the sense of “insult” to a more traditional blame-shame culture.
As Greenfield’s article begins – “The manifold organs of the ObamaMedia are abuzz with outrage over what they are calling Israel’s “insult” to the United States. But what was the nature of this awful and outrageous insult? Did Israeli officials pull off V.P. Biden’s rug to show off his bald head underneath. Did they ask him why the suit of his pants is so shiny. Did they make him sit at the kiddie table? More to the point did Israeli TV air calls for a Jihad against America, as Palestinian Arab TV did? Did Israel name a square after the murderer of an American photographer, as the Palestinian Authority did? Did an Israeli Anchorman do a skit in blackface during Obama’s visit, as a Turkish anchorman did during Obama’s visit to Turkey? Are Israeli religious institutions issuing Fatwahs against America, as Al Azhar University, which Obama visited and spoke at, has done? Are Israeli leaders funding terrorism against America, as the Saudi King, before whom Obama bowed, does?
No, none of those incidents were described as insults. Nothing that Muslim countries did to mock, humiliate and murder Americans were even noticed at all. None of them produced furious condemnations from the White House or two hours of Hillary Clinton screeching on the phone at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So what did Israel do that was so awful, so horrible and terrible? It built houses. Yes, civilian houses. Not army bases or nuclear missiles or walls. Houses.
Israel approved a construction project to build housing for its own people, in its own capitol city, Jerusalem. Some of the housing will be built in the Shimon HaTzadik neighbourhood, situated around the grave of Shimon the Righteous, a Jewish religious figure famed for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. A neighborhood where Jews have lived for over a century. As well as Ramat Shlomo, a thriving neighborhood with thousands of Jewish families living in it.
In the March 16 edition of The Autralian, Robert Goot, head of Executive Council of Australian Jewry, penned a thoughtful article putting the Israel-Palestinian issue in perspective. As Goot states, with regard to the unsuccessful Olmert peace initiative of 2008 – “Olmert, too, would have had to contend with the rejectionists in his own camp, but he felt strong enough politically to overcome their opposition and sell the deal to his electorate. But there was no deal to sell, so we will never know whether he was right. In contrast, Abbas feels that any peace deal he commits to with Israel, no matter how favourable to the Palestinians, will see him branded as a traitor throughout the Arab world, undermining his support among his own people and boosting the popularity of Hamas. He will not even talk directly to the Israelis and requires the Americans to act as go-between.
The current efforts to reach a peace deal being facilitated by US Vice-President Joe Biden have poor prospects. True, the blunder made by Israel’s Interior Minister in announcing, without consulting with his Prime Minister, the construction in two years’ time of 1600 new apartments in northern Jerusalem has not helped matters. But to point to the announcement as the cause of the inevitable failure of the talks, if they ever get started, would be too facile. Abbas is in no hurry for a deal. His popularity has recently risen at the expense of Hamas because of improvements in the security and economic situation in the West Bank. Why spoil things by committing to difficult compromises with the Israelis that are bound to be contentious among Palestinians?
The Israel-Palestinian conflict is widely viewed in the West as the central issue in the region and capable of a quick solution. The opposite is true. The conflict is not solvable at present and its perceived importance, beyond mere rhetoric, has fallen steadily in the Middle East.”