In the United States, questioning Israel is rarely a wise political move, and even suggesting an alternative to the policy of choice for whatever government is in power there at any given time is often enough to provoke angry responses from much of the US Congress, not to mention protests in Israel.
But increasingly officials are admitting, if not altogether publicly, that Israel’s current right-far-right government is abusing its “untouchable” status and becoming a considerable liability for US foreign policy makers.
Though there are innumerable instances of this abuse, including the serious damage Israel has done to US-Turkish relations recently, the biggest issue for many in the administration appears to be President Obama’s push for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The talks aren’t entirely popular with everyone in Israel’s current government, and in many cases the announcement of new settlements seems to be timed specifically to do maximum damage to the indirect peace talks brokered by the US.
This has led in at least one case to a complete abandonment of the talks, which took the US months to restart. More new settlements are being announced all the time, and it seems only a matter of time before the Palestinians take the hint and pull out of the talks again.
When that happens, Israel will insist the Palestinians are entirely to blame, and a number of members of the US government will parrot this claim publicly. Privately, however, it seems a growing number are seeing beyond their own rhetoric, and sooner or later it seems this must be reflected in a policy change.