The dispute over Israel's plan to expand Jewish settlements in contested East Jerusalem is more than a simple disagreement, says Donald Nuechterlein in Inside NoVa.com. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government will face a crisis if he backs down, as ultra-conservative parties religious parties will abandon him. But in President Obama's view, Israel's unwillingness to accept a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital makes it harder for the U.S. to fight Muslim-inspired terrorism. Can the U.S. and Israel negotiate a solution that protects the interests of both allies? Here's an excerpt:
"Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, suggested recently that the clash between the United States and Israel is a 'disagreement' among friends, not a crisis; The Washington Post characterized it as a 'quarrel'; and The Wall Street Journal blamed the president for this 'diplomatic crisis.'
In his March 14 column, 'Driving Drunk in Jerusalem' (New York Times), Tom Friedman asserted that Israel caused the row with Washington by its treatment of Vice President Biden during a visit to Jerusalem. 'Bibi Netanyahu's government,' he wrote, 'rubbed his nose in some new housing plans for contested East Jerusalem.' He suggested that Biden should have left Israel immediately.
How serious is this dispute over East Jerusalem? Is it simply a disagreement between allies, or a fundamental clash of America's and Israel's vital national interests?"