Something we hear often from our contacts in Israel is that they wish the U.S. would quit "interfering" in Israeli policies. This view has been criticized by others, especially with the approximately $3 billion that the US gives every year to Israel. But, then, consider a recent appearance by US Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). Weiner would like to be the next mayor of New York City. He might have trouble accomplishing that, for many reasons, but claiming that there are no Israeli troops in the West Bank will not help. Here is the exchange from a panel discussion on March 3, moderated by New York Times columnist Roger Cohen:
WEINER: You can see a difference in the development in the West Bank with 11 percent year over year growth, with no Israeli occupation there either, with increasing access to checkpoints —
COHEN: What about area C, D,
WEINER: Hold on, maybe this would be helpful
COHEN: No occupation in the West Bank, did I hear you right?
COHEN: Have you been to the West Bank lately?
COHEN: You didn’t see the IDF there?
WEINER: In Ramallah? No. In Nablus? No. Now can I tell ya there might be some people in this room who think Jerusalem is occupied.
COHEN: Well hold on a second there, let’s stick to the West Bank. You’re saying there is no IDF presence there?
Weiner is right--there's no IDF presence in Ramallah, although there are frequent raids, and access is controlled by Israelis--but to say that there's no presence in the West Bank is either disillusionment or political pandering. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0OGBbrHA3M[/youtube]