‘How does that work?’ Bob Simon badgers Ehud Barak over building settlements while taking US aid

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Yesterday I did an anticipatory post damning as hasbara the “60 Minutes” report last night on “Iron Dome,” the missile defense system that lessened Israeli casualties during the Gaza conflict of last November. I’d only seen the trailer at that point.

The actual report last night was far better than my review. Though the account featured heroic images of young Israeli soldiers and the Israeli flag (twice), reporter Bob Simon turned the 13-minute story at minute 9 or so to Israel’s failure to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians. So the first 2/3 of the schizoid report had the hawkish Ehud Barak as its point of view and rationalized the assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari by Israel last November as a legitimate response to rocket attacks. The last third featured a Palestinian Authority negotiator Husam Zomlot saying that Israel has gotten tons of money from the U.S. — $270 million so far for Iron Dome — but had accepted no American advice.

Simon plainly agreed with the Palestinian. He repeatedly assailed Israel’s defense minister for building settlements.

The US is planning to give nearly $1 billion to Israel all told for Iron Dome, he says to Barak.

Simon: While the Americans are helping you so much, Israel goes on building settlements, which is exactly what the Americans don’t want. How does that work?

Barak squirms, evades the question, says, we’re in the middle of an election campaign.

Simon: But how does it work? But right now, Israel has just announced the building of a giant settlement project. [The E-1 deal] This is at the same time that Americans are providing money for Israel’s most important defense system.

Barak says the political differences are irrelevant.

And Simon ends by noting that Israel’s conflict of last November only solidified Hamas’s popularity inside Gaza.

This episode ties into Brian Lehrer saying last week that many Americans see Israel as acting against our interests, and Bill Maher joking that Israel controls our government. Glasnost.

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