Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Obama's Settlement Obsession

From One Jerusalem, 2/6/09 [emphasis added]:

In a recent public opinion survey of likely American voters participants were asked:

Do you think that if the Palestinians were given their own state in the West Bank and Gaza they would live peacefully with Israel or continue their campaign of terror to destroy Israel?

18% said live peacefully

60% said continue terror

In other words the American people clearly understand that the so-called two state solution is not a formula for bringing about a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem. Several commentators have noted that even before Israel created any settlements the Palestinians conducted a full-scale war of terror against them.

But for some reason, the Obama Administration has made the two-state proposal with its demand that Israeli settlements be curtailed and eventually dismantled the centerpiece of its peacemaking strategy in the region.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President Obama, the Americans demanded that Israel begin the process of curtailing the settlements. This demand included that Israel take the irresponsible action of ending the natural expansion of a settlement. This entails a decision not to build housing for families that have children.

While this demand sounds irrational, the Obama Administration has privately and publicly repeated this demand. When on his American visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu was repeatedly goaded on this issue. On Sunday, Israel's Cabinet emphatically declared that they support their Prime Minister's position that the natural expansion of settlements will continue.

The other day, an American television analyst asked us why Obama is pushing so hard on this issue. Why doesn't he see that the facts on the ground belie the contention that the two state solution is a viable policy initiative: There is no leader on the Palestinian side to conclude a deal with, even the "moderate" Abbas refuses to recognize a Jewish state, Israel has a right to defensible borders and the settlements play a crucial security role, etc.

While we agree that these facts should bury the two-state idea and the demand to curtail settlements we have come to the conclusion that to understand why the Obama administration is pushing Israel so hard we must look beyond the local Israel-Palestinian conflict. The public criticism of Israel by President Obama, Secretary of Sate Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates, and others in the administration can only be understood in a larger context. It is unlikely that these realists believe that they have the solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict. But they seem to have come to the conclusion that by making Israel their target they will win favor throughout the Muslim world.

This explains why President Obama's administration has turned up the heat on Israel shortly before the President makes his much ballyhooed speech to the Muslim World. One could ask what is the purpose of such a speech? Why address only the Muslim World? Why not the Christian and Jewish worlds? One possible answer is that this American administration wants to realign America's role in the world and Israel stands in its way. As several public opinion surveys have shown a vast majority of Americans identify with Israel and see Israel's enemies as our enemies. President Obama does not see the world that way and by confronting Israel he hopes to gain favor in the world of those who confront the United States.

These are very dangerous times for the United States, Israel, and the Western World. Because this mindset is at the center of the Obama Administration's relations with Iran. The Administration acts like it believes it can live with a nuclear Iran, that Iran is just another Civilized nation among nations. Lets pray that America's leaders wake up to reality before it is too late.
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