News / USA

Analysts say US-Israel Relationship Scarred by Settlements Dispute

Meredith Buel

Middle East analysts are expressing concern a disagreement between the United States and Israel over Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem will leave scars in the relationship and may raise the risk of Israeli military strikes against Iran's nuclear program.  

Some influential Middle East analysts, speaking in Washington, say they are concerned by a growing dispute between the United States and Israel over the construction of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.  Their comments were made at the opening of the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization.  

Washington Institute for Near East Policy Executive Director Robert Satloff told thousands of AIPAC delegates the dispute will have consequences. "We are in a very serious moment.  I would say it is more five or six on the Richter scale, not eight or nine, in terms of the depth of this crisis.  But it is real.  When it is resolved and I think it is in the process of being resolved, it will leave scars between the two sides I think at the very highest levels," he said.

Israel's plan to build 1,600 new homes in occupied East Jerusalem was announced during a recent trip to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.  U.S. officials called the timing "insulting," and the move was condemned by diplomats from the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union at a meeting of the international Quartet on Middle East peace.

Analyst Satloff said the disagreement could embolden Iran to accelerate its nuclear program. "I think that the impact of this crisis is to hasten Iranian efforts to achieve a nuclear weapons capability and ultimately, because there are scars now in the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship, perhaps even to hasten the clock on Israeli preventive action against that Iranian nuclear capability," he said.

Iran denies it is trying to build nuclear weapons, but Israel views the program as a threat to its existence.

U.S. Senator Evan Bayh told convention delegates Iran should not be encouraged by the current disagreement over settlements. "I think the Iranians make a miscalculation here if they look at this temporary spat, rhetorical spat, between some aspects in Israel and some elements of the U.S. government, as a lack of resolve on our part, that would be very damaging and so it is incumbent upon all of us, the United States, Israel and others to show that we will simply not stand for the Iranians achieving a nuclear capability," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are scheduled to address the AIPAC convention Monday.  The prime minister's office says Mr. Netanyahu will meet Tuesday with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House.

The U.S. envoy on Middle East peace, George Mitchell, is in the region trying to start indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

A former senior policy advisor to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tal Becker, told convention delegates such talks could have positive results. "I think if the talks begin and are substantive rather than an exercise in evasion, we can at least bring closer a real dialog and it is certainly better than not talking.  I think we have a real opportunity to insure that the West Bank is not a failed state or a terror state and no one can afford that.  And I think we do have a chance of increasingly marginalizing Hamas," he said.

The militant group Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

Among the other scheduled speakers at the AIPAC convention is former British Prime Minister and Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid