Obama Throws Israel to the Dogs

Filed Under (The HELL You Say!) by Robert Spencer on 20-05-2011

America is on the verge of abandoning its most reliable ally in the Middle East, thanks to Barack Hussei Obama.

He began his betrayal with lip service to Israel’s concerns about defending itself from the relentless jihad that has been waged against it throughout the sixty-three years of its lifetime as a sovereign state: “For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure.

Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.”

Yet after saying that “Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist,” Obama called for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Yet neither Hamas nor Fatah have acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, and Obama did not make that acknowledgment a condition of the establishment of a Palestinian state. He was merely making an observation, akin to something like: “You’ll never get a good job by sleeping in the sun all day” – more on the order of a polite request, a mild nag, rather than a firm condition.

Obama also called for “two states,” explaining that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

It was widely reported Thursday evening that Obama was calling for a return to the 1967 borders, but this is not the case. He actually called for the creation of a “sovereign and contiguous state” for the Palestinian Arabs, and said that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines.” Thus he wasn’t calling for a return to the 1967 lines, but new borders “based on the 1967 lines.”

There were, however, no 1967 lines in which Palestinian Arab territory was contiguous. For the territory of Palestine to be contiguous, that of Israel will have to be substantially reduced. Israel’s 1967 borders were indefensible, and Obama is calling for Israel to be reduced even further so that a contiguous Palestinian state can be established.

What’s more, Obama specified that the new Palestinian state should have “borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt,” while Israel should have “borders with Palestine.” The implication was that Israel, in Obama’s vision, will border on neither Jordan nor Egypt — only on “Palestine.” Yet currently Israel has substantial borders with both Jordan and Egypt. Obama was implying that his contiguous Palestine would comprise not just Gaza and Judea and Samaria, but large expanses of Israeli territory bordering on those two states.

That would leave a truncated, reduced Israeli rump state, reminiscent of the reduced and defenseless Czechoslovakia that remained after Neville Chamberlain fed the Nazi beast at Munich. And if Obama did not mean that the diminished Israel he envisioned would have no territory bordering on Jordan or Egypt, the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state including Gaza and the West Bank would cut Israel in two: Palestine’s contiguous territory would come at the expense of Israel’s.

All that is required then, in that scenario, is to get and keep the two sides talking. Elliot Abrams, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post after the Bush administration left office, effectively rebutted this argument.

“But it seemed to me that the opposite view was right: that if everybody knows what a deal has to look like, and year after year and decade after decade, it is not possible to reach it, isn’t it obvious that it’s because neither side wants that deal?” Abrams said. “Now, the reasons for not wanting it can vary, and they can also change over time, but it does seem to me that if everybody knows what the options are, and the most Israel can offer is less than the least the Palestinians can accept, the solution is not close at hand.”

Abrams was right. It’s not that those parameters aren’t reasonable—they are, which is what makes them so consistently alluring to negotiators. It’s that Israeli leaders have regularly made that offer to the Palestinians, who have never shown any indication that they will accept them. Which is why increased pressure on Israel is silly and counterproductive—the third lesson of the Mitchell debacle.

There are few constants in the Arab-Israeli conflict that can help a negotiator plan a strategy. Foremost among them is what Hillary Clinton said in an interview with the New Yorker in 2007: “You do not get people into a process or to the table to make any kind of tough decisions, including compromises, unless the other side knows that your commitment to Israel is unshakable.”

There are two noteworthy parts to that quote that make it a concise expression of one of the basic rules of the Middle East. The obvious one is the unshakable commitment to Israel. That is the first requirement for productive negotiations—a lesson the Obama administration should be learning from all this. The tangible sacrifices in any deal are being made by Israel—often at a serious risk to the security of the Jewish state. Those sacrifices will not be made in isolation.

But also remarkable is the phrase “the other side”—which Clinton uses here to refer to the Palestinians. The special relationship between Israel and the U.S. was not an accident. It developed because the two countries have shared values and shared strategic goals. The same cannot be said of Arafat’s PLO, Abbas’s PA, or Hamas—the progression of Palestinian power has been consistent on this score.

The concept of an “even-handed” approach by the U.S. defies common sense, and will only reinforce intransigence on the Palestinian side, as it has thus far into the Obama administration’s failed attempts at peacemaking; not only has the PA refused to participate in direct negotiations with Israel, but Palestinian leaders are threatening unilateral declaration of a state—an abrogation of previous agreements and two decades of peacemaking efforts in the region.

Politico called Mitchell’s departure a “low point” in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But if American policymakers learn these three lessons, it will at least begin moving back in the right direction.

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