Monday, October 3, 2011

Panetta: Israel isolating itself

Israeli officials may well be wondering why Panetta is being so critical. Defense Department photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey
Israel has to take steps to be less isolated.
So says U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is admonishing Israel to restart peace talks and amend relations with Turkey and Egypt.
His comments are sure to ruffle the feathers of Israeli leaders. Israel has agreed to the Quartet’s request to negotiate with the Palestinians without preconditions and the State Department has lauded Jerusalem for doing so. The Palestinians may balk because the Palestinian Authority is on record as demanding preconditions before returning to the negotiating table.
So Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may well be wondering why Panetta isn’t criticizing the Palestinians instead.
Israel has been taking steps to mend relations with Egypt. But Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been increasingly antagonistic toward Israel. All this may also be causing Israel’s leaders to be scratching their heads, wondering why Panetta is so critical of their policies.

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