Monday, March 17, 2014

Will Obama Abandon Israel?

I watched a show last night about the Israeli/Palestinian dispute and about how President Obama is attempting to force Israel into a peace agreement with Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. President Obama apparently believes Abbas is a moderate Islamic leader who is not only willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel but will adhere to it. I'm not sure why Obama would feel that way unless he agrees with Abbas who said recently:

“We don’t love death, but we welcome martyrdom if it happens. We will march to Jerusalem in the millions, as free people and heroes.”

Referring to Israeli demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas said, “This is a story that we have heard only in the last two years. We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing so.”

Abbas said they will only negotiate until April. “After that, we are free to do what we want,” he said.

He went on to say that Jerusalem is the "occupied capital of the State of Palestine" and that “Without this, there would be no solution,” Abbas said. “No one is authorized to sign [an agreement] without this.”

Somehow that doesn't sound like a man who is committed to peace with Israel. Maybe it's just me.

President Obama seems to be committed to forcing Benyamin Netanyahu into an agreement with a nation who won't even recognize their right to exist. And rather than negotiate quietly with Netanyahu, Obama tried forcing his hand by going public with his threats against Israel. 

In an interview with Bloomberg published March 2, the President tossed out some not so veiled threats for Netanyahu and seemingly encouraged the rest of the world to boycott Israel if Netayahu does not comply with Obama's wishes. 

"But what I do believe is that if you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time — if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.

What we also know is that Israel has become more isolated internationally. We had to stand up in the Security Council in ways that 20 years ago would have involved far more European support, far more support from other parts of the world when it comes to Israel’s position. And that’s a reflection of a genuine sense on the part of a lot of countries out there that this issue continues to fester, is not getting resolved, and that nobody is willing to take the leap to bring it to closure.

If he does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach. And as I said before, it’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.

Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?

Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like."

So Netanyahu now has Obama trying to push him into a deal with an Arab leader who refuses to recognize Israel and has threatened to take what he wants by force if necessary. And people still believe Obama is on the side of Israel? I certainly don't.

I think something big is going to happen in Israel soon. Whether or not it will be a good thing remains to be seen. But I believe if Israel decides to fight for their right to exist as a sovereign state our President will turn his back on her and leave her on her own. And that's truly sad since Israel has been our best friend in the Middle East since she was recreated in 1948, following the holocaust during World War II. It seems President Obama is more concerned about maintaining a friendship with the Muslim Brotherhood than our proven ally. Interesting how that works.

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