On the Obama administration’s Middle East roller coaster

Yesterday Barry Rubin provided a refresher course on the topic of the Jewish presence in “east” Jerusalem.

October 31, 2009: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lavishly praises Israel as making “unprecedented” concessions in stopping construction on West Bank settlements while it is still going to build in east Jerusalem.

November 1, 2009: The U.S. State Department cheers Israel’s announcement that it will stop construction on West Bank settlements but not in east Jerusalem: “Today’s announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

March 12, 2010: Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says that Israel building in east Jerusalem is an “insult” to the United States, jeopardizes the bilateral relationship, and damages the cause of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meryl Yourish provides a list of supportive comments that Barack Obama has made regarding Israel. I especially liked this one:

And then there are those who would lay all of the problems of the Middle East at the doorstep of Israel and its supporters, as if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all trouble in the region. These voices blame the Middle East’s only democracy for the region’s extremism. They offer the false promise that abandoning a stalwart ally is somehow the path to strength. It is not, it never has been, and it never will be.

Which is why the administration sent David Axelrod onto all the talk shows yesterday to complain. (via memeorandum)

The issue, Axelrod said, is a “flare point throughout the region” and puts U.S. interests at risk. “It is important for our own security that we move forward and resolve this very difficult issue,” Axelrod said.

Believe it or not once upon a time Sen. George Mitchell complained about an administration that sought to prohibit Israel from building in east Jerusalem.