Over the past week, a pattern of Israeli insults has emerged, creating a superficial storm, beneath the cover of which Israel is hardening its repression of all dissent and continuing its colonization program.
If anyone is counting insults:
- Netanyahu insulted Biden by announcing the expansion of illegal housing;
- Netanyahu insulted Washington again by apologizing for the timing but not the substance;
- Netanyahu insulted Washington again by reaffirming, early this week, that no substantive change would occur;
- Netanyahu insulted Clinton by refusing to return her phone call.
Three strikes and you're out...except for Israelis, who get four. Otherwise, Washington is firmly humbled.
Substantively, the week has produced the following:
- Israel will continue building.
- Israel is not worried about Iran but about expanding into the West Bank.
- Israel does not care about the peace talks, which even the most naive now see as meaningless.
- Israel will not accept the four conditions demanded by Clinton when she rang up Netanyahu last week.
- When Israel wants U.S. advice, it will ask for it.
Now, doesn't that clear the air?
The point here is not to engage in petty counting of insults; they really don't matter much, anyway, because the relationship is more a power game than a love affair. The point is that what we are seeing is not a mistake or a single daring slap in the face but a pattern of Israeli sneering at the patron it manipulates: Israel insults publicly, creating a superficial storm, beneath which Israel marches on changing ground reality with further repression of both Palestinian and Israeli dissent, as well as the advancement of its colonization program. So far, despite a dramatic change in the tone of the relationship in favor of U.S. dominance, the substance of the relationship has become even more one of the Israeli tail wagging the U.S. dog.