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No Daylight?

1:57 PM, Jun 3, 2010 • By JAMIE FLY
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On Tuesday, the day after Israeli commandos prevented a flotilla from breaking the naval blockade of Gaza, ABC News reported the (supposedly) definitive U.S. position. Under the headline, “Official: U.S. Will Stand with Israel,” Jake Tapper wrote, “I’m told there won’t be any daylight between the US and Israel in the aftermath of the incident on the flotilla yesterday.”

No Daylight?

Stirring stuff, but unfortunately, little more than a day later, daylight began appearing all over the place.

First, as Elliott Abrams pointed out in this space yesterday, the Obama administration wasn’t even willing to block a “Presidential Statement” from coming out of the United Nations Security Council that many in the world quickly interpreted as a condemnation of Israel.

Then, the State Department made a point of making it known on Wednesday that it had called on Israel to use “caution and restraint” towards the flotilla prior to the Israeli operation. As none other than Vice President Joe Biden told Charlie Rose, "You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not."

Now, this morning, Doyle McManus writes in the Los Angeles Times that “Obama aides hope that backing Israel now will pay off on issues that are more important than the immediate controversy, and the administration has already begun using its support to press a broader agenda.”

What exactly is that agenda? According to McManus:

The first, short-term goal is to contain the diplomatic damage from the ferry debacle and to make sure the next boat that tries to run the blockade doesn't prompt another round of gunfire.

The second is to persuade Israel to relax the Gaza blockade, something the administration has been demanding for months. Right now, Israel allows food and medicine into Gaza (although aid agencies charge not enough) but bars most building material and industrial supplies, crippling the area's economy. The aim was to hurt Hamas, but instead it is Israel that has been blamed.

The third goal is to induce Netanyahu to be more forthcoming in peace talks with the Palestinians, the administration's main aim all along.

So, over the course of two days, “no daylight” has essentially become “we told you so,” “perhaps you shouldn’t have done that,” and “we plan to use this to our advantage to further our agenda.”

It’s no wonder that ally after ally feels slighted by the Obama administration, because even when this White House says they are standing with you, they are simultaneously undermining you.

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