Part 2: Obama’s Position on Palestinian/Israel Conflict
President Obama begins this important part of his speech by comparing Israel’s birth out of the ashes of the Holocaust to the Palestinian peoples suffering and pursuit of a homeland.
President Obama says:
…it is undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslim and Christian – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the west bank, Gaza and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.
- First of all the “Palestinian people” have not been in pursuit of a homeland for 60 years. The Arab people that inhabited what is now Israel (and some still do live in Israel) were part of the Kingdom of Jordan. In other words they were Jordanian citizens and not pursuing a homeland. Jordan’s armies attacked Israel and were defeated in the 1948 War of Independence and again in the Six Day War of 1967. The Arab nations (Jordan included) tried to destroy Israel and were soundly defeated in both wars. That situation can in no way be compared to the incredible genocide committed against Jewish people in World War II. It was simply Arab aggression that has caused the current Palestinian suffering and displacement.
- Obama, also, seems to legitimize the Palestinian refugee’s status by saying that they have waited in refugee camps for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. The Arabs waiting in refugee camps are there because their host Arab nations have chosen NOT to absorb them as Israel absorbed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab nations after the Arabs lost the War of Independence. It is the host Arab nations who have perpetuated the suffering of the Arab/Palestinian refugees.
Obama continues with these choice words:
They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation.
- The humiliations, as Obama describes them, are a direct result of thousands of Arab/Palestinian bombs and terror attacks that force the Israeli government to spend untold millions to defend its borders and citizens against attack. Obama infers that this is somehow Israel’s fault and that they are being cruel taskmasters to the Palestinians when this is far from the truth.
- He also characterizes Israel’s presence as occupation. This really annoys me. The rules of war are timeless and well known. If you wage a war of conquest you risk defeat and losing control of some or all of your own land and sovereignty. The spoils to the victor are great but the risk to the losers is absolute. When it comes to Israel, the rules of war do not seem to apply. Israel is the only country historically I know that when attacked, and is successful in repelling the aggressor and possessing some of the aggressors lands, is then told by the world that it must give back the land it has claimed as a spoil of war. Israel won the war. Israel has no obligation to do anything and should be commended for its graciousness as the victor. Certainly the US army, in displacing the Native Indianpeoples of North America, has felt zero obligation to restore America’s sovereignty to the Indian nations. The US has grudgingly handed over some miniscule lands but the Indians ultimately live under the watchful eyes of the US government. So much for consistency. Israel was and continues to be the victim of Arab aggression.
It gets worse. Obama continues with these words:
So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.
Analysis: What is troubling with this statement is that it follows his assertion that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is occupation. This leaves the listener feeling that Israel is to blame for the intolerable suffering of the Palestinian people.
America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own.
Analysis: It feels to the listener that Obama is blaming Israel, however subtly, for denying Palestinians a state which is properly their right. He is also, with these words, positioning himself on the world stage as a Prince Valiant, who will personally act to right this grave injustice. This is very dangerous politically. It puts Israel into the extremely uncomfortable and unfair position of hurting Obama’s international prestige if Israel disagrees with his approach to resolving the conflict. The onus should be on the aggressors…the Arabs. Instead Obama has subtly shifted the blame to Israel.
More from Obama…
Obama scolds the Palestinians and in particular Hamas and says:
Palestinians must abandon violence…Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Analysis: First of all, some of these requisites are non-starters for the Arabs. What if they refuse to budge on these issues? Is Obama saying Israel is off the hook? I don’t think so. He has already shifted the blame to Israel so the responsibility to do something concrete is on Israel not the Arabs.
That is why he follows his scolding of the Palestinians with a much more concrete and harsh assertion for Israel. He says:
The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
He continues by requiring Israel to open its borders to Palestinian workers from Gaza and then West Bank.
…the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
- I find it extremely arrogant for Obama to tell Israel that closing its borders (and for that matter building a security fence) to ward off potential terrorist acts is “against its security interest”. The last thing Israel wants to do is spend millions building security fences and closing their borders to the cheap and vital labor pool from Gaza and the West Bank. There is only one reason Israel does this…SELF DEFENSE.
- Also…Why is the onus on Israel?. My Arab cousins are the aggressors. He should be asserting that the Arabs must honor past agreements and cease their terror attacks immediately. Peace cannot move forward and Israel cannot be expected to make peace until the violence stops. He makes no such clear assertion of that truth but continues to push Israel. Why? Because he knows that the Arabs are stubborn and notorious for giving up nothing in negotiations…only Israel is willing to take steps towards peace. If he is to get the peace process going his best chance is to pressure little Israel to make indeed another concession. This is a grave injustice.
Lastly and importantly, Obama says the following:
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace.
Analysis: We will soon see if his actions match his rhetoric. If Israel will not be intimidated by the President and publicly refuses to enact measures that Obama requires that will jeopardize its security and survival, what measures will Obama take to force or coerce Israel into seeing things his way? I hope none. I believe the opposite.
What bothers me the most is President Obama’s very public shifting of blame for the Arab/Israeli conflict to Israel. I hope I am wrong about Obama but I believe his true heart and sympathies are revealed in his carefully chosen words in Cairo.
Part III will look at His change of position concerning Iran and its nuclear program.
~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~