Tensions flared in East Jerusalem this week, as dozens of masked Palestinians hurled rocks at police to protest the Israeli government's plan to build 1,600 more homes for Jewish settlers on disputed land. Israel announced the controversial project last week as Vice President Joe Biden visited the country ahead of fresh, U.S.-mediated peace negotiations. The White House, which has pressured Israel to stop expanding settlements, called the timing "an insult," and urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt construction. Is Obama being too hard on Israel? (Watch a report about tension between Israel and the U.S.)

Yes, Obama is "throwing Israel under the bus": The White House apparently is trying to make Netanyahu look bad, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, so his conservative coalition will fall apart in Israel's next elections. Obama apparently hopes Israel's next leader will be more "pliable." But the strategy will probably "backfire" — Israelis are more likely to "close ranks around Netanyahu."
"WSJ: What is Obama thinking by attacking Israel?"

Absolutely not. Israel's effrontery can't be ignored: Obama "has reason to be angry," says Roger Cohen in The New York Times. The Israeli conflict "is a jihadist recruitment tool that feeds the wars in which young Americans die." Obama has said time and again that the U.S. is committed to Israel's security — but he can't let Israel torpedo peace without consequences.
"The Biden effect"

Bashing Israel only encourages Palestinian stubbornness: President Obama's "quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government" might win concessions from Netanyahu, say the editors The Washington Post. But, if history is any guide, it only makes peace less attainable. "American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric, and elevated demands, from Palestinian" leaders, who will now be cagier about joining peace talks.
"The U.S. quarrel with Israel"


Did Israel snub Biden?