Congratulations to the citizens of the United States, who from now on could receive proper medical care even when they don’t happen to be rich.
Congratulations to President Barack Obama, for finally starting to justify the hopes and expectations of his voters.
Perhaps also the hopes and expectations which many people in Israel and throughout the Middle East placed in him.
A disagreement among friends
"This is a disagreement among friends. The American position regarding construction in East Jerusalem has not changed since 1967, and it never interfered with the good relations between the two countries," stated Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser this morning.
Indeed, all US presidents, from Johnson up to the present, did not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel, nor did they ever agree to the confiscation of ever more Palestinian land or to the construction on it of Jewish neighborhoods and more Jewish neighborhoods and even more Jewish neighborhoods.
In practice, however, former presidents were willing to wink and ignore what was going on, even to veto Security Council resolutions on East Jerusalem. The current president seems to have stopped winking.
"There are people living in Jerusalem and they need a place to live, so we have to go on building for them – for Jews and Arabs both," added Cabinet Secretary Hauser. Well, not exactly. The State of Israel is building in Jerusalem for Jews and for Jews only. Government officials invest in it a lot of money and a lot of effort and ingenuity, taking over land in any conceivable way. To Arabs in Jerusalem, the State of Israel provides mainly demolition services for the houses which they built for themselves with their own money.
True, in recent months was a pause in the demolition of Palestinian houses in Jerusalem, mainly due to Hillary Clinton's previous angry outburst and the previous crisis in relations with the Americans. But construction for Arabs by the Government of Israel? The Messiah has not come, yet.
- Look, Mr. President, Madam Secretary, we have a lot of bureaucracy in Israel. Here, I brought accurate and detailed charts to show you. In our country, before starting to build you have to go through lots of steps and a lot of deliberations and resolutions in all kinds of planning committees. It does not at all mean that tomorrow morning we start actually building.
- Bureaucracy is not always a bad thing, Mr. Netanyahu. Maybe you could just take care that projects in East Jerusalem get even deeper into the bureaucratic maze and never find their way out?
Extreme right leaders in this country cannot get over the scene in Tel Aviv University, where the audience applauded Vice President Joe Biden when Obama's deputy expressed criticism of PM Netanyahu and opposed the settlement construction in East Jerusalem. The most recent to denounce the university applauders was Eliakim Haetzni in the opinion page of Yedioth Ahronoth.
Haetzni and his friends might have to get used to such scenes. If President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton make a serious effort to liberate Israel from the malignant occupation which has been devouring us over the past 43 years, they will get much more such applause.