Obama Is an Impediment to the Mideast Peace Process
From the outset of his presidency, Obama foolishly made Israeli settlements the focal point of his administration’s admonishments of Israeli policy. Beginning with his refusal to confront Iran on its nuclear weapons program, Obama barked orders at the Israeli government, requiring the full cessation of construction in the settlements without regard to the realities of the situation.
In his thuggish Chicago style, Obama felt confident that he could successfully bully Netanyahu into halting construction in disputed territories and then go down in history as the president who brokered peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In doing so, Obama not only underestimated the resolve of the Israeli people, but he empowered the Palestinians by handing them an excuse to discontinue all negotiations for peace for the foreseeable future.
What has since resulted from Obama’s ill-informed, grandiose pronouncements is Abbas threatening to quit due to Obama’s failure to achieve a settlement freeze, Palestinians contemplating a unilateral declaration of an independent state with U.N. backing, and the likely hardening of positions on both sides of the conflict.
It looked like the administration had awoken to reality when, for a brief period of time, it began to ease up on previous statements. However, this week, Obama made it perfectly clear where he stands on this completely misguided position. In an interview with Fox News, Obama condemned the construction of nine hundred new apartment units in Jerusalem, stating:
I think additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel’s security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous.
I have come to expect the rest of the world, including European leaders, U.N. diplomats, and Mideast despots to play the blame-game and ridicule Israel as the sole impediment to peace in the Mideast. I am getting sick and tired of listening to my country’s president do the same thing. American presidents are supposed to arrive in office with full knowledge of world affairs before they undertake a task as weighty as the Mideast conflict and make declarations that have grave ramifications from which they cannot retreat. As Yisrael Harel wrote in the Jerusalem Post:
Had the president of the United States done his homework and not relied on an ideology without foundations or bowed to the pressures of his closest aides … he would have discovered that his vision is a nonstarter.
And Noah Pollak writing at Commentary further noted:
Having staked the peace process on an undeliverable promise to the Palestinians of a settlement freeze, the administration is now forced to spin furiously for Abbas in order to shield him from even more humiliation than he’s already suffered.
It is no surprise that this administration blames Israeli settlements for the lack of peace in the Mideast. Obama’s advisors, czars, and life influences have all made it clear that their view of the world includes censuring Israel and holding it responsible for the violence and conflict in the Mideast. But to claim that nine hundred apartment units could embolden Palestinians in a “very dangerous” way is one of the most ignorant comments Obama has made to date (and that includes when he said he was on a path to visit 58 of the 60 states).
The Palestinians have been committing “dangerous” acts in the name of resistance (their code word for terrorism) for decades. Israel has been under attack and forced to take defensive measures in order to ensure its survival since its inception. And since the birth of the Jewish State, when absolutely no settlements existed or were even contemplated, the Arab world has been at war with Israel.
Obama must realize that there were no settlements when Israel was attacked in the wars of 1948, 1957, and 1967. Yet he proclaims that if only Israel would halt development of buildings on land that it secured in accordance with international law in its own self-defense in the 1967 war, peace would exist. Notwithstanding the lessons learned when Israel unilaterally handed over the Gaza strip to the Palestinians, receiving absolutely nothing in return other than years of missile barrage, Obama claims that if Israel would simply cede land that it won in defense of its existence, peace would prevail. The “land for peace” mantra is moronic, but the claim by Robert Gibbs that “[at] a time when we are working to relaunch negotiations, these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed” is even more so.
The only people buying these ludicrous and unrealistic proclamations are either anti-Semitic, uneducated, or both. The clear and historic reality is that if the Palestinians want peace, they have had a number of opportunities to attain it, and they rejected every single one. If the Palestinians want peace, they could put down their arms tomorrow, recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel, and a homeland of their own would be forthcoming.
The United States, for the first time since the start of Israel’s existence, has a president who has absolutely no understanding of the history of the land of Canaan, no understanding of the legitimate claims of Israel to Jerusalem as its capital, and no desire to confront reality. What he desires is to force his will and his world vision on populations, reality be damned. The implications of Obama’s fantasies will result in more violence in the area, prolonged economic strife for the Palestinian people, and resentment and enmity toward America and Israel across the region.
Jews the world over should have been on red alert when candidate Obama flip-flopped on the division of Jerusalem as part of a two-state solution. Any candidate who promises a Jewish audience that Jerusalem will remain unified one day, and the next day changes his mind in response to Muslim backlash, should have received 0% of the Jewish vote. But Barack Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote, and his policies have proven disastrous.
We’re ten months into his presidency, and Obama is now castigating Israel for building apartments in Jerusalem, believing that this land should be part of a future Palestinian state. As Jonathan Tobin noted,
The president’s decision to speak as if this part of Jerusalem was a ‘settlement’ where Jews had no right to live and build is…a provocative escalation of the administration’s hostile attitude toward Israel.
Obama’s predecessor was one of the best friends that Israel has ever known. Perhaps Obama believed that it was time for tough love since unconditional love did not lead to peace. What he missed from that equation, which led to an inapt conclusion, was the fact that there is no true partner for peace on the other side. The empowerment of that faux player by Obama is now not only leading to potential catastrophic consequences, but it is taking the focus off finding a proper solution. Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Netanyahu stated:
I hope the Palestinians answer our calls for negotiations. The Palestinians have groomed themselves with unrealistic expectations.
Netanyahu was too diplomatic to state that on the way to achieving those unrealistic expectations, the Palestinians had a little help from their friends in the White House.
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