Article of the day, by WaPo’s Jackson Diehl

Posted: June 29, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Palestinians, Peace Process, Politics, US

Washington Post's Jackson Diehl

IN HIS MOST recent op-ed, Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl – the columnist who also interviewed Mahmoud Abbas recently (making Abbas admit he isn’t planning to move a finger for peace) – wrote a shrews opinion column today, where he examines US’ policy towards Israel:

Pressuring Israel made sense, at first. The administration correctly understood that Netanyahu, a right-winger who took office with the clear intention of indefinitely postponing any Israeli-Palestinian settlement, needed to feel some public heat from Washington to change his position — and that the show of muscle would add credibility to the administration’s demands that Arab leaders offer their own gestures.

However, Diehl believes, current administration made a mistake of pushing too much, too far, by prohibiting Israel any construction outside of 1967 armistice lines, including construction in that part of Jerusalem. While Diehl mentions only the Old City, this plan also includes many neighborhoods, such as Ramot, Ramat Eshkol, Neve Ya’akov, French Hill, and others).

In Diehl’s opinion, this position put the Obama administration into a stalemate: on one hand, Israel fiercely resists pressure to halt construction (which would cause Jewish populations of Jerusalem to leave, seeking residence); on the other hand, Palestinians can sit hands down, claiming they are waiting for Israel to halt construction (precisely what Mahmoud Abbas currently does). Moreover, Diehl believes US now cannot achieve a win-win situation, and has to prepare for some damage control – conceivably, the reason behind Defense Minister’s trip to Washington.

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