Since US-Israeli relations are so famously cozy, maybe it’s time to extend the familial metaphor a bit further: Washington is a victim of domestic violence.
Every time the Obama administration reaches out to the Netanyahu government, it gets slapped in the face. Netanyahu has once again been invited to Washington — due to the poorly-time Mavi Marmara massacre he had to bail on a visit planned for early this month. He’s now due for his long-awaited kiss and make up session at the White House on July 6. But true to form, as soon as this was announced, word came from Jerusalem that 22 Palestinian homes are going to be bulldozed to clear space for a tourist center.
Another diplomatic snafu? On the contrary. These unfortunate “coincidences” have become so predictable that it’s hard to interpret them in any other way than as a calculated effort by Israeli officials to humiliate their American counterparts.
Just as some victims of serial abuse collude with their abuser by finding ways to excuse their partner’s violence, Washington’s tolerance of treatment that would be unthinkable coming from any other ally, is perpetually excused when the offending nation is Israel.
The Jerusalem municipal planning committee approved Monday a contentious plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes to make room for a tourist center that Palestinians fear would tighten Israel’s grip on the city’s contested eastern sector.
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has asked the municipal planning committee earlier Monday to give preliminary approval to the plan which affects the neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, and risks more U.S.-Israeli friction.
Tensions have already been raised in Jerusalem, when conflict erupted during the meeting between committee members and the residents of Silwan. Silwan residents starkly objected to the plan and demanded the committee discuss their alternative plan, which does not include razing homes.
What will the White House say? That this is “unhelpful”? Hillary Clinton has already expressed her “dismay and disappointment.”
Just as the expansion of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land has been relentless, the Israeli assault on Washington perpetually expands the boundaries of impunity. The notion that Israel might go too far in testing the limits of American tolerance is repeatedly invalidated as Washington demonstrates that its diplomatic tool box is equipped with nothing more threatening than the occasional harsh word — and even those are in short supply and never particularly harsh.