The news of the Israel/US relations continue to dominate the headlines, editorials, and interviews.
Of course the biggest news is that the US Embassy announced that the Middle East special envoy, former Senator George Mitchell, will not arrive in Israel as planned. One senior US administration official basically said that the relationship with Israel is undergoing a test.
There have been contacts between Prime Minister's Bureau and envoy Mitchell's office in the attempt to allow his visit to Israel despite the rift. But the Obama administration has said that it is awaiting an official response to the demands set by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – of which I spoke about on yesterdays' Harvest Show, as condition for rehabilitating the lost trust, the indirect talks on peace, and Israel's relations with the US.
But even as this is happening, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu flat out declared that Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem and in the settlements of the West Bank. And not only him, but also Israel's Housing Minister stated that he will publish tenders for thousands of housing units this year.
And despite all this, Mr. Netanyahu has reportedly contacted the White House to see if they are interested in him meeting Vice President Biden again next week.
So, here's how the media is interpreting all this; Some say that for years several US administrations have allowed Israel to do as it pleases believing that it knows best. But now things are different because of the issue of global terrorism as it relates to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Joe Biden said in effect before his departure from here, that sometimes it takes a real friend to tell you what your doing wrong. Israelis realize that even their closest friends and admirers find it hard to understand some of the actions Israel takes. But one paper here put it into three words describing this whole fiasco; impression of fraud.
But the other view from here is that America's approach rests on a bad Western view that does not understand the place of Jerusalem in the Israeli experience… that in historic terms, Jerusalem is a tangible symbol of what is (in their mind) Jewish. Thus, any compromise over Jewish sovereignty is seen as a kind of war on Jewish existence.
But here's a real observation; Can Mr. Obama offer anything new, given the Palestinians' rejection of what former the Prime Minster Ehud Olmert offered in the last serious negotiations for peace?
We'll keep you informed,
Middle East Corespondent