What is the Obama Administration up to when it comes to Israel?
Just standard ineptitude when it comes to Secretary of State John Kerry's handling of the negotiations to bring about a cease fire between Israel and Hamas? Hardly.
John Kerry's comments on the hot mic [FYI: no one who does media regularly says something into a microphone that they don't want others to hear; no one] earlier this month that Israel was engaged in a "hell of a pinpoint operation" was a clear sign that Team Obama was looking to put more and more daylight between the US and it's strongest ally in the region.
As Democratic analyst Doug Schoen put it, "...While discussing a cease-fire is all well and good, Kerry’s ironic expression of frustration at the deaths of Palestinian civilians highlights a U.S. administration that is not standing shoulder-to-shoulder with one of our strongest allies." Indeed.
Kerry then worked to bring, not Israeli allies, but Hamas allies, Turkey and Qatar, into the cease fire negotiations. It is Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, on July 19, said Israel possessed "barbarism that surpasses Hitler." And keep in mind that Turkey is rumored to be providing safe passage for IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (designated a terrorist organization by Israel, Germany and the Netherlands, but not the US) as they seek to provide "humanitarian aid" to Gaza.
After the draft of of proposed cease fire agreement was leaked, Israeli news media responded with withering attacks on Kerry. The US State Department jumped at the chance to condemn Israel, even though the attacks on Kerry came mainly from the media--not the Israeli government.
US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said of the criticisms: "Our view is it's simply not the way that partners and allies treat each other."
This, even though the Israeli government tried to distance itself from the press condemnations. Israel's ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said, "The criticism of Secretary Kerry for his good faith efforts to advance a sustainable cease-fire is unwarranted."
So what gives? As Judith Miller and David Schenker put it, Obama "rarely misses an opportunity to demand more of Israeli than Palestinian officials." His administration has made a point of criticizing Israel for not minimizing civilian deaths, despite proof that Hamas is putting civilians in harm's way intentionally.
One wonders seriously if this administration is just looking for its chance, yet again, to abandon one of its allies.