Breaking News: U.S. Threatens Aid To Israel In Pursuit Of Peace Deal
In speaking with PBS on the eve of his visit to the Middle East, U.S. special envoy George J. Mitchell delivered an unveiled threat to Israel:
George Mitchell threatened that his country would freeze its aid to Israel if the Jewish state failed to advance peace talks with the Palestinians and a two-state solution.
Mitchell clarified in an interview to the PBS network that the United States would use incentives or sanctions against both sides.
According to American law, Mitchell said, the US can freeze its support for aid to Israel. He added that all options must remain open and that the sides must be convinced about what their important interests are.
The US envoy noted that some progress had been made and that his country would continue its efforts to resume the negotiations.
The American guarantees allow Israel to raise funds at low interest rates and improve the Jewish state’s credit rating. The last time the US threatened to freeze the guarantees was during the term of President George Bush Sr. and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
Mitchell is reported to be delivering letters to both the Israelis and the Palestinians, outlining U.S. positions, and offering “guarantees” it hopes will relaunch final-status negotiations.
Let’s hope the Obama Administration understands that Israel will never again take them seriously if this turns out to be just another empty threat. I predict Netanyahu will remain defiant — he’ll call Obama’s bluff on suspending U.S. aid — knowing full well that the U.S. Congress is much more likely to take its marching orders from the Israel Lobby than from a weakened President.
Yes, I’m anticipating another embarrassing display of U.S. impudence (i.e. more Netanyahu intransigence with Obama ultimately cowering away from the threat of suspending U.S. aid) . Let’s face it, Obama has yet to show a hint of fortitude on any single policy initiative. Ultimately, he subjugates to entrenched interests — that’s his governing style. Don’t expect him to finally grow a pair when pitted against the formidable Israel Lobby.
Mondoweisse has transcribed a portion of the transcript of George J. Mitchell telling Charlie Rose, after much prodding on Rose’s part, that the U.S. has the option of withholding aid at its disposal. Adam Horowitz seems to believe it’s just a hollow threat that never would have been made without Rose pressing him on it.
Here’s the video of Charlie Rose and George J. Mitchell having this discussion.