Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Israel yesterday in an effort “to re-energize moribund Mideast peace efforts,” as the Associated Press puts it.
So naturally, news emerged on the very day that she arrived that Israel has taken steps to bolster settlements:
The Israeli government has quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements, The Associated Press has learned.
Because this is what Israel does. High-profile US-Israel meetings get underway, and boom: Settlement expansion!
Just like when President Peres flew to Washington last year to meet with President Obama.
And when Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the US a few months prior to that.
And when Vice President Biden went to Israel some months prior to that.
Yet successive American administrations seem pretty ok with frequent and very public face-slappings. Sure, Biden shook a rhetorical finger at Israel back in the day, as has Obama, as will (no doubt) Clinton. But actual consequences for repeatedly dissing Israel’s single greatest supporter? Perish the thought. The only President to ever turn words into action on this front was George HW Bush, and that was a long time ago.
It’s frankly baffling to me. Why does America put so little stock in its allies actually keeping their word? Does Israel have something on America? Did it give America a wedgie once? Does it have pics of America holding a bong? Has it squirreled away far-reaching evidence of American involvement in extra-judicial deaths and cocaine-fueled jungle battles in Latin America? What?