Michael Oren, the new Israeli ambassador to the U.S., was issued a summons by the State Department "over the weekend," as news reports are putting it, and given a message
to send back home: The government of the United States of America requires you to halt plans for construction of a housing project in east Jerusalem. This is outrageous in a number of ways, but let's begin with the fact that the demand was made "over the weekend." "Over the weekend" means Saturday, the day of rest for Jews, and indeed it is the one day of the week designated for respite in that six-day-work-week country. The decision to send an opprobrious message to the Jewish State on a Saturday is an indication that the traditional contemptuousness of the foreign-service anti-Zionists is once again ascendant-and worthy of Jimmy Carter and James Baker at their nastiest.
Worse yet is that the administration believes it is proper-no, essential-to tell the Israelis they haven't got the right to build housing for Jews in the political-and religious-capital of their country.
But worst of all is that the Obami seem to have swallowed whole the New York Times view that the eastern part of Jerusalem, sacked and ruined and left to rot until Israeli soldiers liberated it in 1967, should actually end up Judenrein:
The international community considers Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem to be settlements and an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Israel does not regard them as settlements because it annexed east Jerusalem in 1967 after capturing it in June of that year.
The answer from Binyamin Netanyahu, a resounding NO:
We cannot accept the notion that Jews will not have the right to buy apartments specifically in Jerusalem. I can only imagine what would happen if they were forbidden from purchasing apartments in New York or London; there would be an international outcry. This has always been Israel's policy and this is the policy of the current government.
Adds Avigdor Lieberman: "Thousands of Arab families build houses in Jerusalem, in the neighborhoods of Neve Yaakov and French Hill, and I've never heard any comment on the matter from the United States or Europe."
How greatly lucky for Israelis that their present leaders have no illusions about "Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking," and no intention of bending over for an American interlocutor bent on delivering them a horsewhipping.