Why Would Israeli Officials Insult The United States?

US  Vice President Joe Biden has strongly condemned Israeli plan to build 1,600 more homes in East-Jerusalem. To add insult to injury, the plan was announced in the middle of  Biden’s visit to the region to help revive the moribund peace talks with the  Palestinians.

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units. It undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I have had here in Israel,” said Biden in a statement after he arrived 90 minutes late for a dinner with Prime Minister Natanyahu last night.

The settlement in question is Ramat Shlomo, it is a religious Jewish settlement in an area of the occupied West Bank annexed to Jerusalem by Israel. This move by the Netanyahu administration shows that the current Israeli government is not interested in negotiations with the Palestinians nor in peace. And further, some elements of the Netanyahu administration are determined to insult Israel strongest ally: The United States. So why Israeli officials would want to humiliate Joe Biden, and by doing so insult the United States?

It is not a coincidence that Israel Interior Minister picked Biden’s trip to make the controversial announcement. It follows the same logic than a statement made by Knesset deputy speaker, Danny Danon,  to the Washington Post.

“While we welcome VP Biden, a longtime friend and supporter of Israel, we see it as nothing short of  an insult that President Obama himself is not coming,” said Danon.

The Haaretz’s Bradley Burston posted an editorial today questioning why Israeli officials would behave in such a way towards Joe Biden.

The profit for the hard right is political. It mines an emotional vein along a relatively small but potent segment of the Israeli electorate, which holds that to insult Israel’s indispensable ally is to assert the Jewish state independence. It is the same base sentiment that Avigdor Lieberman has courted in trying to make Israel loom large by treating dignitaries from overseas to petty indignities and frank disrespect,” writes Burston in When Israelis degrade Israel by humiliating Joe Biden”.

The Netanyahu administration is on a coalition course with the EU over the assassination in Dubai and the dire situation in Gaza, and now they are testing the limit of the “special relationship” with the United States. They might have just pushed the envelope a bit too far this time around.

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