Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Settlements – A Post Script

The Jerusalem Post reports of an interview which took place on Israel radio earlier today on this very issue - the contention between Jerusalem and Washington about settlement construction.

Thank God we have the clear and cool head of a Michael Oren (pictured) representing Israel in the United States and not some ‘black and white’ hardliner. His position is eminently the right one. He seeks to resolve the issue with the US in a way that will leave us in full agreement. I don’t know what the final outcome of this issue will be. But I like his attitude, which is that it will be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. That the current relationship with the US will remain as strong as ever and that both Israel and the US intend to keep it that way. Here is in part what he said:

"Here, we are talking about a very specific disagreement. There is a willingness on the part of the administration to resolve this. And I know as ambassador that the spectrum of constant contact is massive. We do not feel tension. There is no breakdown in the relationship," said Oren.

"We are dealing with this on all levels and we will reach an agreement with camaraderie and cooperation. We have no ally like the United States. It is a strong bond and I'm sure it will be resolved."

This is the correct attitude and the correct policy. I am not in favor of willy nilly capitulating to every demand the Obama administration makes. Never was. I am only in favor of doing whatever it takes to keep our relationship as strong as ever – without endangering the Jewish people. That seems to be the goal of the Israeli government too.

If Israel can convince the US to support natural growth construction, than I would be thrilled. But if I had to guess it’s going to work the other way. It might end up being some sort of compromise along the lines I’ve suggested: Whatever projects were started will be allowed to be completed. But no new building permits will be issued. That’s my guess. But we’ll have to wait and see.