One week ago, headlines around the world announced a definitive decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The news, on the surface, was not good. "Netanyahu Rejects Settlement Freeze," shouted newspapers the world over.
But there was something a little too final about the announcement. For months since U.S. President Barack Obama had demanded a freeze in construction in the Occupied Territories, Netanyahu had been seeking a formula to placate Washington. Now, suddenly, his office was eagerly confirming the news that he was giving a firm, "No," to Israel's most important ally.
It was all a little suspicious. Few items rank higher on the list of Israel's political priorities than relations with the United States. Was Netanyahu really defying America this openly, this unsubtly?