(Weekly Standard) The U.S. government might impose sanctions on Israel or allow its greatest ally in the Middle East to be tried in the International Criminal Court, according to Politico. Michael Crowley reports:
Obama officials must now decide whether more international pressure on Israel can help bring a conservative Netanyahu-led government back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians — or whether such pressure would simply provoke a defiant reaction, as some fear.
Obama has other diplomatic options. He could expend less political capital to oppose growing momentum within the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel for its settlement activity.
More provocative to Israel would be any softening of Obama’s opposition to Palestinian efforts to join the International Criminal Court, which the Palestinian Authority will formally join on April 1. Under a law passed by Congress, any Palestinian bid to bring war crimes charges against Israel at the court will automatically sever America’s $400 million in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority, although some experts suggested Obama could find indirect ways to continue some funding — even if only to prevent a dangerous collapse of the Palestinian governing body.
Meanwhile, in other news, the U.S. government is making excuses for Iran’s testing of its nuclear program. Bloomberg reports:
When nuclear monitors said Iran had started testing a single advanced centrifuge last year, some U.S. politicians and analysts jumped on the report as proof the Islamic Republic can’t be trusted.
To U.S. officials negotiating with Iran, it was probably just a mistake — one that shows the pitfalls in the highly technical accord being discussed. Describing the incident in detail for the first time, U.S. officials, who asked not to be identified following diplomatic rules, said the testing was probably done by a low-level employee on Iran’s nuclear program who didn’t understand the limits placed on his experimentation. …
According to the U.S. officials, though, Iran hadn’t technically violated the interim accord, which allowed some research and development activities to continue. What’s more, the person responsible was probably a low- or mid-level employee at the lab who wasn’t acting on orders from above, they said. The U.S. nevertheless asked Iran to stop the testing in order to remove any doubts.
—Courtesy of The Weekly Standard