In a speech given at AIPAC on Monday night, Benjamin Netanyahu declared to a roaring crowd: “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement; It’s our capital.”
The game of chicken continues. As Netanyahu continues to pursue a hard line on the settlements issue, embarassing high-ranking U.S. officials like Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton, the UK expels an Israeli diplomat in London.
Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen took the highly unusual step of weighing in on the political dimensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict (after some prompting by CENTCOM commander General Petraeus), arguing that the conflict had a direct impact on America’s status in the region.
As someone put it recently, there is no bigger lobby in Congress than the U.S. military, and if the military decides that a particular policy is becoming a liability for national security, it could provide the White House with some much-needed political cover to put pressure on the Israelis.