US-Israel Clash Marks Limits of American Clout

But shifting sands unnerve Israel supporters
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 24, 2010 2:31 AM CDT
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference dinner in Washington this week.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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(Newser) – The clash between the US and Israel over East Jerusalem settlements is underscoring the shifting sands of the nations' relationship and highlighting the limits of America's clout with Israel. It's also raising concerns among Israel's supporters because US leaders appear to be linking Israeli positions to imperiling American lives. Gen. David Petraeus seemed to underline that link when he warned recently that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict "foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of US favoritism toward Israel."

The Obama administration has pledged support for Israel's security while at the same time continuing to strongly criticize its settlement policy. But there's only so much the US can do. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convinced that stopping East Jerusalem construction would be politically devastating to his coalition, so US pressure for a freeze isn't going to work, notes the Washington Post.

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