FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
With diplomatic tensions rising, both the U.S. and Israel are trying to tamp down the flames. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now insists the two allies enjoy a "close, unshakable bond."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/17/art.jerusalem.jpg caption="Palestinian laborers work on a construction site in east Jerusalem. VP Biden has criticized Israel's decision to approve construction of 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem."]
But when Israel announced it was going ahead with the building of more settlements over the objections of the United States and when they chose to make the announcement while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, Mrs. Clinton called Israel's actions "insulting" to the United States. Which they clearly were.
In a game of cover your whatever, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. now denies making statements that relations between the two countries are "in a crisis." But whatever state relations are in, it ain't good.
Some are suggesting it's time for the U.S. to get tougher with Israel. One Middle East expert wonders if the flare-up between the two countries means the Obama administration is seeking "regime change" in Israel.
Want to really get tough and send a message? Start cutting back on the approximately $2.5 billion in aid we give Israel every year.
In Today's New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd quotes one Obama official, saying, "that's not how you treat your best friend," when describing Israel's recent construction announcement of 1,600 more homes in the disputed east Jerusalem.
In her piece called "Bibi's Tense Time Out," Dowd writes the White House is "appalled at Israel's self-absorption and its failure to notice that America is not only protecting Israel from Iran, fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also dealing with a miasma of horrible problems at home."
Here’s my question to you: Is it time for the U.S. to get tougher with Israel?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Dana in Oregon writes:
Yes. Israel has insulted us and further inflamed the Palestinians. I don't understand what the Israelis hope to prove by any of this.
Greg in Minneapolis writes:
Jack, Israel needed our help to be able to stand on their own feet when they first were founded back in 1948. But that time is long past, and they should either do as they are told if they are going to continue to receive foreign welfare from the U.S., or forgo those funds and support themselves.
Steve in Clifton, Virginia writes:
It's time for the U.S. to live up to its assumed role as an "Honest Broker" for the Middle East. Trust and equity must be two components of that role and both must be applied and enforced equally to Israel. We support Israel, not the other way around! Israel has to demonstrate that it wants peace for themselves as much as we want it for them.
Mark in Oklahoma City writes:
We should be helping Israel occupy as much Arab land as possible. Last time I checked, we were not fighting Jews in the war on terror....we are fighting Muslims. As far as I'm concerned, Israel can occupy the entire Middle East!
Michael in Tampa, Florida writes:
Jack, Maybe someone, anyone, can tell me why we continue to give Israel $2.5 billion per year? They don't have any oil. They don't let us put a huge military base in their country. What strategic value does supporting Israel have for U.S. interests? If the U.S. wants to get tough with Israel, we need to end ALL aid to them, and insist they allow the formation of a Palestinian homeland.
It would seem like this country would have some kind of leverage against Israel, with the billions of dollars it gives to her every year.
Jack, This should have been done many years ago.