This week Vice President Biden chastised Israel for its decision, announced Tuesday, to build 1,600 new housing units in an already-Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhood. “We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them,” Biden said. “[U]nilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations.” Apparently the American administration was so ruffled by the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was prompted to reply that “he had no intention of sabotaging Biden’s visit.”
And here we were under the impression that Israel was a sovereign nation, not a subsidiary or satellite office of the American government. To apologize for not halting the operation of a country’s government offices for a foreign politician’s visit is nothing short of absurd. And Biden is simply paying lip service to Obama, who has routinely criticized Israel’s “settlement building.” But there has never been an Arab presence in what is now Ramat Shlomo, the neighborhood where the homes are to be built. And during the Six Day War Israel captured not only East Jerusalem, but Gaza, the West Bank, the Sinai and the Golan Heights—and it won the war.
Don’t the victors of wars get to dictate post-war terms? All the exaggerated disappointment and finger-wagging by the Obama administration is about as warranted as would be Israel’s chastisement of the United States for its annexation of Texas. Kudos, in that case, to Israeli parliamentarian Danny Danon, who said publicly Wednesday that Biden and Obama ought to mind their own business where building in east Jerusalem is concerned. Danon told Israel National News: “I turn to President Obama and to Vice President Biden and say, ‘Hands off Jerusalem! Do not interfere in the matter of Jerusalem. The Jewish nation has a right to this city.’”