The interesting developments continue in Israel:
“Israel does not take orders from [US President Barack] Obama,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said on Monday, responding to an earlier statement by the US president in which he reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to all previous understandings between Israel and the Palestinians, including the process launched at Annapolis in 2007.
Erdan, who is also in charge of coordinating between the Knesset and the cabinet, also praised Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who only last week said that Israel was not bound by the Annapolis talks.
I seem to recall my rabbi back in the early 1990s — the High Peace Process Era — opining that it might be better if the United States and Israel basically went their separate ways. The United States wouldn’t hand out all this aid, and Israel would be responsible for making its own decisions regarding the Palestinians. He has some fairly complicated view about how that would actually make the Israelis more inclined to compromise on things like settlements, because the issue would be seen through the eyes of Israeli interests rather than through the lens of Israel’s pseudo-interest in pushing back on whatever issues they’re getting pushed on.
I have my doubts about all that. But the fact remains that Israel doesn’t “take orders” from Washington, Israel has fought for a very close special relationship between the United States and Israel. We give them a lot of money, and a lot of close defense cooperation, and they don’t have much to offer in return. Consequently, we’re in a position to boss them around to a substantial extent. On the other hand, a lot of people in the United States seem to feel that it’s wrong, as a matter of principle, for the United States to actually use its leverage over Israeli policy. So it’s quite possible that, in practice, the Israeli government could tell Obama that they don’t care what he thinks and manage to continue to get whatever they want out of congress.