It may be couched in the gentlest possible terms, but the Trump administration’s statement that new or expanded settlements in the West Bank “may not be helpful” in achieving peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is really no different from what the Obama administration and other administrations before that were saying in somewhat stronger language.
The Washington Post reports:
The apparent genesis of the statement was a story in Thursday’s Jerusalem Post, which quoted an unnamed senior administration official telling Netanyahu’s government to stop a spree of housing construction approved since Trump’s inauguration, lest it interfere with Trump’s plans to work toward a peace plan.
I suspect that however it was phrased, the statement came as a nasty shock to Netanyahu and his rightwing allies, who thought that with the election of Trump, they were finally free from American scrutiny.
I also appreciated UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s statement that the United States would not lift sanctions against Russia until it stopped destabilizing Ukraine and pulled troops out of Crimea.
We do want to better our relations with Russia,” she said in her first remarks to an open session of the United Nations Security Council. “However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”
I hope Trump– who has yet to utter a critical word publicly about Vladimir Putin– stands by these words. And I hope Putin was unpleasantly surprised.
On the other hand…
Bawling out the prime minister of Australia? “Light-heartedly” threatening to invade Mexico? Virtually everything else he has done since January 20? Trump has a long way to go before I consider him to have risen above the level of pathetic and dangerous failure.
Update: Again, on the other hand…
O’Reilly: “Putin’s a killer”
Trump: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think—our country’s so innocent?” pic.twitter.com/wBUyNncsYr
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 4, 2017
Further update: And of course Garry Kasparov is right.
Propaganda. Putin's Russia doesn't "fight radical Muslims". It sponsors them in Chechnya and ignores ISIS while propping up Assad & Iran. https://t.co/z7fdE3ojyC
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) February 5, 2017
Additional update: And why can’t Vice President Pence simply answer “Yes”?
This clip is stunning and bizarre. The Vice President of the United States won't say whether America is morally superior to Russia. pic.twitter.com/HjxktTvYte
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) February 5, 2017