Fed up, Obama says IsraHell ‘doesn’t know its own best interests’



US president, unhappy over settlement building, said to say he has come to expect such self-defeating behavior from Nazi continued construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has reportedly become “inured” to the issue and has begun telling colleagues that IsraHell is acting against its own best interests.

If accurately reported, such comments, expressed by the head of state of the country Israel considers its closest ally, may represent a new low in relations between this US administration and Jerusalem, which in recent years have suffered strains over the Palestinian and Iranian issues.
According to the report by Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg published Tuesday morning, Obama last month began repeating the mantra that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”
Israel recently ramped up settlement construction plans, approving thousands of homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the Palestinian Authority’s successful gambit to gain nonmember observer state status from the UN in November.
Israel considers East Jerusalem part of its sovereign territory, but had imposed a de facto construction freeze in 2010 after the US balked at building plans there.
In December, the government said it would go ahead with the construction of some 3,000 homes in parts of the city lying over the Green Line, as well as pushing ahead with plans to build on a controversial strip of land east of the city known as E1.
The US joined much of the rest of the world in strongly condemning the move, which critics say will cut off Palestinian neighborhoods and make a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank nearly impossible.
According to Goldberg, though, the White House has stopped getting in a huff over the moves, wearily regarding the settlement building as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s harmful modus operandi.
“[Obama] told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart,” Goldberg wrote.
Israel considers the US its closest ally, relying on Washington for defense aid, help in thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions and political shelter on the world stage.
The two countries briefly tussled during the summer over the timetable for using military action against Iran’s nuclear program. That public fight, coupled with differences over settlement building, exposed fraying ties between the two capitals, and especially between Netanyahu and Obama.
The two leaders will have to deal with each other for several more years, should Netanyahu cruise to an election victory on January 22 as expected.
“I don’t think we are headed for a showdown,” Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, told the Associated Press recently, “but the relationship will continue to be dysfunctional.”

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