So President Obama has decided to wade into the Israeli settlement issue, creating a huge mess in the process.
The United States condemned Israel's plan to build 1,600 new homes for Jews in Ramat Shlomo, a religious settlement within the Israeli-designated borders of Jerusalem, whose future status is at the heart of the Middle East conflict.
Israel's announcement of the project during a visit last week by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden embarrassed the White House. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in unusually blunt remarks, called it an insult.
The Palestinians, who had just agreed to begin indirect peace talks under U.S. mediation, have said they will not go ahead unless the plan is scrapped.
Israeli media said Clinton last week demanded a reversal of the decision to build in Ramat Shlomo. Netanyahu's comments appeared to signal to Washington that he believed he had political backing at home to withstand U.S. pressure.
Israel has said construction at the site will not begin for several years.
The U.S. criticism of Israel prompted a backlash on Monday from U.S. lawmakers and pro-Israel lobby groups who urged the Obama administration to tone down its rhetoric. - Yahoo News
On the surface of things, it appears that any new building in Israel would create conflict with the Palestinians. Which makes it all the more amazing that the photos used to illustrate the story are of Palestinian workers who are working at the very building site causing all the controversy.
Palestinian laborers work on a construction site in the east Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo, on March 11. The Obama administration pledged Monday that Israel remained a US ally as congressional rivals rallied behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a feud over the construction of settlements.(AFP/File/Gali Tibbon) - Yahoo News
Palestinian labourers work on the roof of a house under construction in Ramat Shlomo, a religious Jewish settlement in an area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem by Israel, March 10, 2010.REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - Yahoo News
How is it possible that Palestinians are involved in expanding a settlement that is supposed to be inflaming their fellow Palestinians? My guess is that the normal Palestinians don't care and are more concerned with the jobs that the project is creating for them. So how interesting it will be if the result of President Obama stopping expansion of this settlement is more Palestinians losing their jobs.
Clearly, if these guys can work on this project, the whole issue is being overblown by the Obama Administration. No surprise there. I guess you can call this another example of 'Smart Power'.