Just like Sesame Street: When we die as martyrs!
The Palestinian Authority is supposed to be combating incitement, at least that’s what Mahmoud Abbas has told Obama, Israel and Jewish leaders.
Obamas has staked the last 17 months on reaching nothing remotely resembling peace. Instead we are shooting lower. According to White house officials dialog between the parties would be a major breakthrough, especially seeing as this actually was going on before Obama assumed office. So far so futile. The word was in Washington that by pressuring Israel (and pressure there has been in spades) the ‘door would open’ for comprehensive peace..
So far despite the grandiose plans, as well as a politically difficult settlement moratorium by Israel (which will soon expire after 10 months) there is..
- No open door
- No direct negotiations
- No seeming wider Arab world involvement
- No halt to PA incitement
All aboard, the peace train!!
We Must Pursue a New Strategic Reality
It is now clear that the President of the United States is intent on appeasing the enemies of both America & Israel. It is also clear he intends to do so at our expense in Israel. Whatever his strategy, (beyond sheer malice) the following is evident. Obama is moving to impose a solution on Israel that will not deliver the prime ingredient, PEACE.
The President has broken a number of agreements with us, despite his assurances his word is meaningless. He broke agreements with us regarding Jerusalem, we painfully froze settlements in the West Bank excluding Jerusalem and months later our concessions have been digested, and he is only pushing for more. This means our concessions have no currency, they are like devalued dollars in an inflationary spiral. Forget guarantees, our concessions don’t even generate goodwill! Neither with America nor the Palestinians.
The opposite, they are perceived as weakness by a tyrant intent on pummeling us further. Such a man cannot be entrusted, he has broken faith not only with our government, but the people of Israel. This new reality touches on a wide range of issues;
- American assurances regarding Iran’s nuclear drive
- American assurances in any peace making efforts
- American assurances regarding defense, and or ballistic missile attack
- American assurances regarding a nuclear umbrella
If Obama intends to impose a mideast solution, he will try to force concessions from us that do not deliver peace. Worse, this imposed settlement will require Israel to place its security in the hands of others, either NATO or the US in the deluded notion that they will protect Israeli interests. Clearly, they will not. We have seen how this has failed previously, UN forces on the Suez, UN forces in Lebanon. Not once have they ever secured security for Israel. They have only sought to tie Israel’s hands from ensuring its own security. This is the model Obama will seek when he pushes to impose a solution on any number of fronts.
The same can be said of Iran. We are being told not to strike and being given instead only American assurances. Such assurances are clearly worthless under this President. I am not being dramatic, polling shows Israelis do not trust the President, it is as simple as that. It may have been the case previously that Israelis would entertain allowing US forces or NATO forces to create a buffer between us & our enemies. Under this President who cannot be trusted this is no longer acceptable.
Whether it be Mid East peace, or more aptly titled Mid East concessions on land for no Peace.. Or the Iran threat, Obama has blown his own credibility with the people of Israel. His advisers whine about Netanyahu’s credibility as a peace maker, this is noise. They do so after we called for a two state solution, after we froze settlements, after we openly maintained since day one we are prepared for DIRECT talks with the Palestinians. The Administration seeks to cover not only its own evident failures by blaming others, but those of the Arab world and the Palestinians as well – It’s rather pitiful.
In reality it is their credibility which is now strained, not ours. We must act accordingly, we must now dig in for massive White House pressure on an imposed solution, up domestic support for Netanyahu, preserve the Labor / Likud coalition and prepare to strike Iran militarily. It is also likely Palestinian obstinacy will cause violent flare ups regionally, Hamas has already been emboldened by Obama’s appeasement, Hezbollah will not be far behind.
Obama may believe he seeks peace, in reality all his failed ideologies and strategies will lead to war. The more he pressures Americas allies while giving a free pass to her enemies, the higher the likelihood of violence. When it explodes, we will know whom to blame.
UPDATE: March 29th
Haaretz today adds the muscle to the analysis above, as Jerusalem sources confirm the belief that Obama now seeks to impose a mediated settlement, and has broken American commitments with Israel. The article also touches on the credibility gap I wrote about above.
Below, a commenter expresses his frustration over the Obama tactics of bait & switch regarding Jerusalem, something felt strongly here in Israel as well.
Only The Right Can Make Peace
That’s a well known secret in these parts borne out by fact. Contrary to conventional thinking, the Palestinians themselves most probably prefer Israeli right wing governments too. The reasoning is simple enough, Israeli right wing governments are the only ones that can bring stability, the possibility of peace, and a normal life for Arabs in the territories through stable economics and some sense of security to stave off at least partially, lawlessness & corruption.
Netanyahu through his right wing government is the only man that can bring about the chance for peace, and it is Netanyahu’s ‘Economic Peace Plan’ which is the only one which even so much as stands a remote chance of success. For all the realists now so popular in America under Obama, they offer up a surprising lack of realism.
You’re going the WRONG waaaay!
You cannot proceed Top Down as the Palestinians, Quartet & US have been for the most part proposing. We must proceed Bottom Up, as the big bad Likud & Israel have maintained for many years. This reality has been sinking in for the Palestinians but not via Abbas, rather from Fayyad the Palestinian PM & economic / fiscal chief. Without law & order, without institutions, without basic governing infrastructure & efforts toward joint security cooperation no peace plan no matter how wonderful or hyped can bypass reality.
In fact, this bottom up approach makes life so good for established Palestinians many seemingly don’t even want to progress to the stage of Statehood, with all the responsibilities and work that would entail. It is much easier to simply sponge off economic aid & Israeli assistance, while maintaining world wide sympathy and simultaneously stoking international animosity toward Israel. This has been the Palestinian reality for a long time now.
Let the good times roll..
Under this formula, Palestinian elite enrich themselves, goods flow, the standard of living catapults upward. Contrast that with Top Down peace efforts such as those under Arafat -Where the leadership steals from the people, nothing gets done, terror causes closures with Israel stifling economic output, gangs of criminals and militants rule the streets, Israel is forced to carry out night time raids & arrests, and civilians are killed in the clashes. Meanwhile the international community loses its mind and suffers full on conniption.
Daled Amos does a great job outlining the economic realities in the territories, and why Abbas himself is seemingly content to sit & do nothing on multiple fronts, from Gaza to the West Bank..
Meanwhile, in the West Bank there is perhaps a growing realization that Netanyahu’s ‘economic peace’ may be succeeding where others–including Obama–have failed:
Fayyad told Haaretz this month that he realized that “security was the glue between a thriving economy and proper government and achieving liberty for the Palestinian people.” (On the question of whether or not Israel is a “Jewish state” — an admission Netanyahu has been adamant about getting from the Palestinians and which he has hitherto been denied officially — Fayyad sounded more Zionist-friendly than the New York Review of Books typically is: “The character of Israel, as the total character that Israel would like to have, is Israel’s own choice.”)
Back in May, Abbas said in his interview with Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post:
“I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,” he said. “Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.” In the Obama administration, so far, it’s easy being Palestinian.
Abbas will continue waiting, assuming that everything he wants will fall into his hands. However, if it is not Israeli concessions but rather Israeli contributions to the reemerging Palestinian that make the news, Abbas will find that the Palestinian Arabs of the West Bank are growing tired of waiting for him.
On a cautionary note, George Gilder writes in The Israel Test that historically foreign aid intended for economic recovery is conducive to corruption and failure, rather than economic growth. When I emailed him about the apparent challenge that the West Bank poses to that rule, he responded:
Hey, when you have a 40 to 60 percent drop in output in the midst of violence, it is relatively easy to get a rebound when calm returns and you have Netanyahu both standing firm against more concessions to terrorists and declaring his determination to open new opportunities for enterprise in the territories.
If Netanyahu’s broad based economic recovery for the Palestinian Arabs is successful–and Gilder is a big admirer of Netanyahu’s economic know-how–then maybe this time around the apparent Palestinian economic renaissance will be permanent, and auger better times to come in the region.
Indeed, there may be growing pressure between Fayyad & Abbas. Abbas seemingly gets a pass from the USA & Quartet on everything. The world speaks day after day about propping up Abbas, supporting Abbas, helping Abbas.. Poor Abbas – the powerless victim. Meanwhile Fayyad is the one who has to get things done & face the music as the functionary and representative in the 2nd tier meetings with international working groups & players.
As Daled Amos writes, soon enough the Palestinians may begin to tire of having a perennial victim at the helm, especially if pressure mounts internationally and the good times start coming to an end, with yet another failed peace plan sure to usher in the same factors that existed under the Top Down Arafat years. Stifling the good life Abbas & the Palestinians now enjoy in Judea & Samaria. Doubly so if the chance at statehood slips right through their fingers yet again, through their leader’s obstinacy & weakness to concede for the benefit of his people and peace.
Peace & Security is the platform of the right
It was the right wing Likud leader Begin who delivered Peace with Egypt, in Israel itself center left voters feel much safer entrusting Netanyahu & the right to secure peace, while clearly right wing voters will entrust no one else. On the Palestinian side the Israeli right brings prosperity and the chance for peace. Tony Blair, Quartet special envoy to the region is a solid backer of Netanyahu’s bottom up plans having seen the realities himself these past 2-3 years. He professed as much in testimony to the US House of Congress at Obama’s behest. The question remains, when will the ideologues in America & the new American President come around too?
One prays it isn’t only after their own plans & ideas fail as have so many others before. Instead of bullying Netanyahu & Israel, instead of undermining the Likud and indirectly Israel itself which via majority supports the party & government, it is high time Rahm, Obama, and the rest of the National Security Council team face these realities.
It is not a few housing units here or there, or a kindergarten under construction which is holding back peace. It’s failed ideology both within the Palestinian camp itself, and from America’s eager but erroneous left wing & leadership. That is not to say peace will be easy or forthcoming, only that failure to acknowledge these realities means it will never come at all.
Two peas in a pod?
President Obama is often compared to former president Jimmy Carter. A Google search of the words Obama & Carter in fact turns up over 13 MILLION results. Considering the fact that one of those two keywords (Obama) is fairly unique, that’s a heck of a lot of returns.
Regarding American domestic policy, especially looking at economics & parallels one could probably write an interesting book on the topic. In the domain of foreign policy things become even more striking. As an example, Newt Gingrich about a week ago appearing on Fox News was asked directly by Greta Van Susteran whether such a comparison was valid?
Israel & the Palestinians?
Gingrich makes some solid points, I’ll gladly leave it to the reader to decide whether or not one agrees. On the topic of Israel & the Palestinians however I think there’s much less room for debate. Former President Carter openly holds contempt for Israel, his most recent book implies Israel is an apartheid state for heaven’s sake. His open admiration of the Palestinian people & their cause is certainly no secret.
Turning to President Obama, his own past associations are replete with examples of Palestinian sympathy. His most recent speech in Cairo calling the Palestinian situation quote “intolerable” is only one of many, it painted an odd contrast to Mahmoud Abbas himself who recently told the Washington Post that life for the Palestinians was great!
I’m also reminded of statements by Jesse Jackson (another famous ‘Israel fan’) during the presidential campaign, when he referred to Obama as the ‘Palestinian Deliverer’.. Further, Obama’s literal crusade against Israel of late is well reported & well known, prompting the Washington Post editorial page (no huge friend of Israel) to question whether the President needed to temper his anti-Israel zeal.
It’s all a bit disconcerting really
Especially when one looks at the fact that Jimmy Carter just finished meeting in Syria with Hamas terrorists and being honored by the Palestinians, who have awarded him the “Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity” whatever that means. Here’s President Carter’s response..
“I have been in love with the Palestinian people for many years,” he said Saturday, adding that this is a feeling shared by members of his family. “I have two great-grandsons that are rapidly learning about the people here and the anguish and suffering and deprivation of human rights that you have experienced ever since 1948,” he said.
Notice that Carter scales all the way back to 1948, blaming Israel for ‘oppressing’ the Palestinians while Jordan ruled the West Bank & Egypt ruled Gaza, thus basically delegitimatizing Israel’s right to exist entirely. This is quite similar to President Obama, who famously did the exact same thing in Cairo when he denied the Jewish people’s 2000 year long true historical claim & longing to return to the land of Israel. This is the basis of Judaism - the Jews covenant with Gd.
Instead, Obama swallowed the Arab narrative whole and basically stated that Israel was created because of the Holocaust, mirroring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s view of the situation to the letter, a man who questions Israel’s right to exist because he claims Europe should pay the price for the Holocaust, not the Arabs or the Palestinians – Therefore according to his and Israel hater’s logic the Jews don’t deserve a homeland in Israel.
Indeed, here’s a bit more Carter today, and his view of Obama policy..
Referring to President Barack Obama’s call for an Israeli settlement freeze, Carter said that “in the future, I am sure, he will call for the dismantling of the settlements that exist.” But he noted that Obama also called for an end to violence against Israelis and for Arab acceptance of Israelis’ right to their own nation. [...] Carter, 85, pledged his “assistance, as long as I live, to win your freedom, your independence, your sovereignty and a good life.”
Lovely. First freeze, then deport all the Jews entirely! I myself am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Carter is probably right about Obama in this case. I think President Obama is an Israel hater just like Carter – Perhaps he too has ‘been in love with the Palestinian people for many years.’
Some Images of Obama meeting with Abbas at the White House recently.
And one of Obama Professing his ‘love of Israel’ with Netanyahu at the White House..
(Abbas images h/t the astute blogger)