Thursday, March 10, 2005


U.S. to Israel: Thanks, but No Thanks!

Is the U.S. administration starting to see Israel as a liability? Well, not completely. But, according to Akiva Eldar in Haaretz, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer relayed a message to Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom asking Israel to stop calling for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Eldar quotes "a Western diplomatic source" as saying:
"You don't have to be a political genius to understand that public pressure from Israel for steps to be taken against Syria on the Lebanon issue could boomerang, since it would turn the U.S. and Europe, in Arab eyes, into puppets of Israel."
You don't think Israel's posturing had anything to do with the high turnout on Tuesday's Hizballah-led pro-Syrian rally, do you? Hmmm... well, maybe just a little?

On the same day, Eldar also reports the US administration is warning Israel that a failure to remove settlement outposts (a hot topic as a result of the release of Talia Sasson's report to Ariel Sharon on governmental support for outposts) could "harm relations between the countries and could have an impact on American aid to Israel." I would guess that this amounts to pretty much an empty threat, but empty threats are a step above no threats at all (in diplomatic terms at least). It seems that Israel seems to be rubbing the Bushies the wrong way, acting like a bit of a bump in the road toward the great Middle East democracy project maybe.

Now who would have ever guessed that US support for Israel wouldn't bring popularity and credibility throughout the rest of the Middle East?

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