American foreign policy Barack Obama Benjamin Netanyahu Israel Israeli settlements

If U.S. says talk of sanctions on Israel is “premature,” doesn’t that mean they’re possible?

Am I the only one who finds significance in a new p-word used by the State Department: “premature?”

Asked at a press briefing if the U.S. was considering putting financial pressure on Israel to get it to comply with American demands, State Department spokesperson Richard Wood said, “It’s premature to talk about that. What we’re trying to do is to create an environment which makes it conducive for talks to go forward.”

It is impossible for an event or action to be “premature” unless there is a chance that it will happen. In other words, this was close to a public admission that financial and other sanctions are in the Obama administration’s tool kit…It might have been a poor choice of words. Or it might have been the strongest signal yet that this American administration is not willing to put up with business-as-usual from the Israelis. As any parent knows, the most effective punishment is one you hold in abeyance, hoping you never have to use it…

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