... As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's May 18 visit to Washington fast approaches, the Obama administration is ratcheting up its anti-Israel rhetoric and working feverishly to force Israel into a corner.
...It began with media reports that National Security Adviser James Jones told a European foreign minister that the US is planning to build an anti-Israel coalition with the Arabs and Europe to compel Israel to surrender Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
... Jones was quoted in a classified foreign ministry cable as having told his European interlocutor, "The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush."
He then explained that the US, the EU and the moderate Arab states must determine together what "a satisfactory endgame solution," will be. As far as Jones is concerned, Israel should be left out of those discussions and simply presented with a fait accompli that it will be compelled to accept.
... quartet mediator Tony Blair announced that within six weeks the US, EU, UN and Russia will unveil a new framework for establishing a Palestinian state. Speaking with Palestinian reporters on Wednesday, Blair said that this new framework will be a serious initiative because it "is being worked on at the highest level in the American administration."
...The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi pan-Arab newspaper reported Tuesday that acting on behalf of Obama, Jordanian King Abdullah urged the Arab League to update the so-called Arab peace plan from 2002. That plan, which calls for Israel to withdraw from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights and accept millions of foreign Arabs as citizens as part of the so-called "right of return" in exchange for "natural" relations with the Arab world, has been rejected by successive Israeli governments as a diplomatic subterfuge whose goal is Israel's destruction.
By accepting millions of so-called "Palestinian refugees," Israel would effectively cease to be a Jewish state. By shrinking into the 1949 armistice lines, Israel would be unable to defend itself against foreign invasion. And since "natural relations" is a meaningless term both in international legal discourse and in diplomatic discourse, Israel would have committed national suicide for nothing.
To make the plan less objectionable to Israel, Abdullah reportedly called on his Arab brethren
- to strike references to the so-called "Arab refugees" from the plan and
- to agree to "normal" rather than "natural" relations with the Jewish state.
According to the report, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was expected to present Obama with the changes to the plan during their meeting in Washington later this month. The revised plan was supposed to form the basis for the new Quartet plan that Blair referred to.
But the Arabs would have none of it. On Wednesday, both Arab League General Secretary Amr Moussa and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas announced that they oppose the initiative. On Thursday, Syria rejected making any changes in the document.
The administration couldn't care less. The Palestinians and Arabs are no more than bit players in its Middle East policy. As far as the Obama administration is concerned, Israel is the only obstacle to peace.
...Vice President Joseph Biden ...at the AIPAC conference [said] "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution. You're not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement."
...In their bid to open direct diplomatic ties with Iran, Obama and his advisers are also blaming Israel for Iran's nuclear program. They are doing this both indirectly and directly.
...Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel ...in his closed-door briefing to senior AIPAC officials this week, ...[claimed] that Israel's refusal to cede its land to the Palestinians is making it impossible for the Arab world to support preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Somewhat inconveniently for the administration, the Arabs themselves are rejecting this premise. This week US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the Persian Gulf and Egypt ...After meeting with Gates, Amr Moussa - who has distinguished himself as one of Israel's most trenchant critics - said categorically, "The question of Iran should be separate from the Arab-Israel conflict."
...Speaking at a UN forum, US Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said, "Universal adherence to the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea... remains a fundamental objective of the United States."
... Gottemoeller effectively abrogated a 40-year-old US-Israeli understanding that the US would remain silent about Israel's nuclear program because it understood that it was defensive, not offensive in nature. In so doing, Gottemoeller legitimized Iran's claim that it cannot be expected to suspend its quest to acquire nuclear weapons as long as Israel possesses them. She also erased any distinction between nuclear weapons in the hands of US allies and democratic states and nuclear weapons in the hands of US enemies and terror states.
... it is argued that Netanyahu must come to Washington in 10 days' time with an attractive peace plan that will win over the White House. But this is a false interpretation of what is happening. ...REGARDLESS OF the weight of Netanyahu's arguments, and irrespective of the reasonableness of whatever diplomatic initiative he presents to Obama, he can expect no sympathy or support from the White House.
...Israel will not be well served by adopting a more accommodating posture toward the Palestinians and Iran. Indeed, perversely, what the Obama administration's treatment of Israel should be making clear to the Netanyahu government is that Israel should no longer take Washington's views into account as it makes its decisions about how to advance Israel's national security interests. This is particularly true with regard to Iran's nuclear weapons program.
... the Obama administration is telling Israel that regardless of what it does, and what objective reality is, as far as the White House is concerned, Israel is to blame.
... Netanyahu should have no expectation that Israeli goodwill can divert Obama from the course he has chosen. And again, this tells us two things:
- Israel's relations with the US during Obama's tenure in office will be unpleasant and difficult, and
- the damage that Israel will cause to that relationship by preventing Iran from acquiring the means to destroy it will be negligible.