Tag Archives: Judea and Samaria

President Obama’s Disturbing New Assertion at AIPAC

On May 22, 2011, President Obama followed up his controversial May 19 speech on the Middle East and Palestinian/Israel conflict with an address to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC).  Some political pundits assert that he backed down from previous assertions concerning Israel’s boundaries made in his May 19 speech on the Middle East. Though charming and  conciliatory in tone when speaking to the 10,000 pro-Israel AIPAC delegates, as I read his speech I cannot agree with those pundits. As far as I can see, he did not back down or change his central assertions that Israel must fully withdraw its military from Judea and Samaria and that Israel must agree to establishing its new borders along pre-1967 borders.

He states:

…no matter how hard it may be to start meaningful negotiations under the current circumstances, we must acknowledge that a failure to try is not an option. The status quo is unsustainable. That is why on Thursday, I stated publicly the principles that the United States believes can provide a foundation for negotiations toward an agreement to end the conflict …

That doesn’t sound like backing down to me. That sounds like a defense or justification for those assertions.

Obama’s Justifications Restated

He also restated three reasons/justifications (and added a fourth and very disturbing new justification) for his controversial  initiative and push for indefensible pre-1967 borders as a pre-condition for peace. He continues:

First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories. This will make it harder and harder-without peace-to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state. Second, technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself in the absence of a genuine peace. And third, a new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region. A just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders. Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained. 

However, it is his fourth and disturbing new  justification that really caught my attention.

In his words:

Just as the context has changed in the Middle East, so too has it been changing in the international community over the last several years. There is a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is impatience with the peace process — or the absence of one. Not just in the Arab World, but in Latin America, in Europe, and in Asia. That impatience is growing, and is already manifesting itself in capitols around the world. …But the march to isolate Israel internationally — and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations — will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative. For us to have leverage with the Palestinians, with the Arab states, and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success. 

Translation: In other words, though the US is trying hard to stand with you, Israel, you now have to satisfy and negotiate with not only the Palestinians and bordering Arab states but also an alienated and pro-Palestinian “international community”. Israel — can’t you see? The whole world is against you. The Palestinians are unilaterally angling to obtain official statehood status at the UN. They will get it. That would be a disaster for you. I’m just trying to head off that catastrophe. Your only chance is to follow my strategy whether you like it or not.  Help me help you!

I believe the President is also inferring that he can’t hold off Arab and international aspirations forever. Though he professes his support of Israel his support was very uncertain in the Gaza Flotilla incident last May. Only at the last second did he veto an extremely anti-Israel resolution by the UN Security Council.

All of this to say that President Obama’s intentions towards Israel , at the very least,  remain very uncertain and unclear.

Remember!

Watch very closely what a leader does–not what he says–to know his true intentions.  

God’s promise to Israel in the latter days:

If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. (Isaiah 54: 14)

Joel Chernoff

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Obama Beginning to Reap What He Has Sown

The Rapid Decline of a Presidency

It has been very interesting to watch the downward spiral of the Obama Presidency after his very public and celebrated Cairo speech to the Moslem world in June of this year.

President ObamaAs I have previously noted in this blog, in that speech Obama (and I will summarize) subtly but clearly shifted the blame for the Middle East crisis from the Palestinian and Arab nations to Israel. President Obama became one of the leading “accusers” of Israel despite his verbal affirmation of the US longstanding and positive position as the protector of Israel.

In addition, after a gentle “wrist slap” for persistent Arab Moslem  terrorist violence against the Jewish state, he then makes Israeli settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria his number one agenda item for  resolving the Middle East crisis. His State department has consequently taken an increasingly public and hostile stance towards Israel, making Israel out in the public eye to be the “enemy” of peace in the middle East.

Even the liberal Washington Post observed:

One of the more striking results of the Obama administration’s first 6 months is that only one country has worse relations with the United States than it did in January: Israel. The new administration has pushed the reset button with Russia and sent new ambassadors to Syria and Venezuela; it has offered olive branches to Cuba and Burma. But for nearly three months it has been locked in a public confrontation with Israel…if he is to be effective in brokering a peace deal, Mr. Obama must be tough on more than one country, or one party to the conflict.

So, over this past summer, what have been the consequences for Obama’s Cairo speech and negative shift in US relations with Israel?

Palestinian Response:

Palestinian leadership has become much more intransigent and less willing to negotiate with Israel. They simply echo Obama’s position and hide behind his measured negativity towards Israel. As Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat boldly asserts concerning PM Netanyahu’s compromise plan for limiting housing expansion in West Bank settlements, the only thing suspended by this announcement will be the peace process. This is absolutely unacceptable. The real Israeli official answer is being conducted on the ground by continuing the building of housing units and settlements.

benjamin-netanyahuErekat describes Netanyahu’s compromise as “total defiance” to US calls for a settlement freeze.

Israeli Response:

A recent Smith Research Institute poll in Israel discovered the following:

  • Only 4% of Israelis believe President Obama is pro-Israel or sympathetic to Israel…down from 31% in January.
  • This is in stark contrast to the 88% of Israelis that believed George W. Bush was sympathetic towards Israel.
  • 51% of Israelis believe that Obama is pro-Palestinian.
  • Quoting a Tom Gross Media assessment, …even many left wing Israelis rallied behind the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in his confrontation with Obama after the State Department summoned the Israeli ambassador to Washington in July and told him two families of Jews could not live in a private home, long owned by Jews, in the heart of Jerusalem, and that the Jerusalem municipal authorities should not have evicted two Palestinian families who had been squatting in the property and had not paid the Jewish owner any rent since 1985.

Since turning against Israel what has happened to his Presidency?

President Obama has gone from one who had the magic touch in politics and had unprecedented favor not only in the US but around the world to one that is in steep decline. Here  is some of the evidence:

  • His job approval rating has plummeted from 60% positive in April to 45% in August. A record for a new President.
  • Just 37% of the all important independent voters still approve his job performance. 59% disapprove.
  • 55% of voters now see the country as seriously off-track.
  • His healthcare plan is in serious trouble.
  • Many experts believe that if this downward trend continues it will signal a large turnaround at the ballot box in 2010 for the Democratic Party he represents.
  • This could signal a powerful erosion of his authority and ability to govern as he is now.

I will conclude with this – Isaiah 49: 25-26

In this prophetic chapter concerning the End of Days and restoration of Israel, God sounds this warning to the enemies of Israel,

Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? For thus says the Lord: even the captives of the mighty will be taken and the prey of the tyrant be rescued. For I will contend with those who contend with you (Israel) and I will save your children…Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Saviour and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Is.49:25-26)

Joel Chernoff


Analysis: Obama’s Cairo Speech – Part 2

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:

obama-cairo-speech…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.

Analysis:

  • 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:

obama-cairo-speechThey endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation.

 

Analysis:

  • 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:

obama-cairo-speechSo 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.

Obama continues…

obama-cairo-speechAmerica 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:

obama-cairo-speechPalestinians 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:

obama-cairo-speechThe 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.

obama-cairo-speech…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.

Analysis:

  • 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.
  • AlsoWhy 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:

obama-cairo-speechAmerica 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.

Conclusion

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.

Joel Chernoff

~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~

It’s Official: Obama’s New Middle East Plan is a Poison Pill For Israel

President Obama and PM Netanyahu Meet

President Obama and PM Netanyahu Meet

The much anticipated meeting in Washington D.C. between President Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has come and gone.

So what do we know now?

Their meeting seemed cordial and both tried to be publicly conciliatory towards each other but it was clear that a consensus was not reached. PM Netanyahu was nice but made it clear that, though Israel will work towards peace with their Arab neighbors, he was not ready to embrace the two-state solution.

President Obama made it clear that he wants Israel to embrace the two-state solution and strongly pressured Israel to discontinue all settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

The Plot Gets Thicker: New Middle East Plan Revealed

On May 21 the popular London-based Al-Quds Al Arabi newspaper ran an extensive analysis of Obama’s new peace initiative. According to this report the main points of Obama’s peace initiative are as follows:

  • It is based on the Saudi/Arab League plan from March 2002.
  • It envisions a demilitarized Palestinian state.
  • It mandates a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank that would split Israel into two parts.
  • Jerusalem would be split into Arab controlled east Jerusalem and Jewish controlled west Jerusalem.
  • Jerusalem would also serve as the capital of the new Palestinian state.
  • Israel would forfeit sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem would be internationalized, that is belonging to no one.

Obama Initiates Another First (unfortunately)

King Abdullah II of JordanIn addition, it was noted that President Obama and King Abdullah of Jordan conceived this plan while Obama was recently visiting Jordan.

This is the first time a US President has created a peace plan without first coordinating with Israel.

This is not a good sign for Israel…and for the US in general!

So what does Netanyahu really think?

 May 22, the day after the Al Quds Al Arabi article is published in London, PM Netanyahu addresses the nation of Israel on Jerusalem Day which is the celebration of the unification of the city of Jerusalem under Jewish control after the Six Day War in 1967. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

He states in his speech,

United Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned or divided.

It sounds to me as if there is little to no give in Israel’s position concerning Jerusalem and is the polar opposite to President Obama’s desire for Jerusalem in his new peace initiative.

What About Obama’s Call for halting Settlement Expansion?

While Netanyahu has tipped his hat at this request and dismantled one or two outposts, the Israeli PM insists that authorized settlements should be allowed to continue natural growth i.e. natural population expansion.

What Does This All Mean?

It means that there is little common ground between Obama’s new agenda for peace and Israel’s new government. There are so many non-starters for Israel that I believe there is absolutely no chance Netanyahu and his conservative government would or even could agree to it without a total collapse of the coalition Netanyahu leads.

In other words Obama’s initiative is, for all intents and purposes, dead on arrival.

What Will Obama’s Response Be?

Obama has put himself in a very fragile position politically. If Obama, after all of his public posturing,  does not try to force Israel to comply he risks looking weak and impotent before the Arab/Moslem world and for that matter the world in general. He is investing a lot of the political capital he gained with his election in trying to resolve the Middle east conflict…his way. I don’t believe he will crawl away with his tail between his legs.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

This is where we must pray for the President and this country.

Unfortunately, it appears…and I say appears…that he is moving in the direction of being willing to sacrifice, if necessary, the US’s long standing relationship with Israel to accomplish what he believes will bring peace to the Middle East.

Look for the US to put unprecedented pressure on Israel to bend to its will.

I hope I am wrong. Keep praying for Israel and the US.

The God of Israel is in control.

Joel Chernoff

~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~

PA President Smells Weakness…But Where?

The Late Abba Eban, Photo by Dan Porges

The Late Abba Eban, Photo by Dan Porges

Because it is apropos I am again quoting the famous Jewish historian, Abba Eban with the same quote. He famously said, concerning the incredible tendency of our Arab cousins to consistently do the wrong thing at the wrong time in their struggle with modern Israel,“they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

Sending a Signal

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided that now is the time to get tough with Israel and perhaps try to influence/test the new US President for the Palestinian agenda. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas throws down the political gauntlet by asserting the following peace process deal killers:

  • He rejects any call to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.
  • He insists that Israel must be defined by the original boundaries established by the UN in 1948.
  • He also asserts that there must be a complete freeze on all settlement building and expansion in Judea and Samaria (what the Arabs call the West Bank) before he will even consider beginning any peace talks.

Of course this drew an angry response from Israel. Likud MK Ofer Akunis was quick to express the Israel’s frustration by saying, “This is more evidence that the Palestinians are not interested in true peace with Israel.” Who can blame Israel for feeling this way?

Interestingly, Abbas goes on to urge the US and its new President Barack Obama to push Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new government to accelerate the peace process.

Talk about Chutzpah!

Abbas just finished laying down at least two, maybe three demands that are absolute peace process deal killers as far as Israel is concerned and then he calls on the US to accelerate the peace process?

Why is PA President Abbas doing this now?

President Obama

President Obama

In my opinion it very well could be that he senses that President Obama is either weak, inexperienced, sympathetic to their cause or all three. While he could be wrongly reading Obama, he obviously believes that if he takes a hard line concerning even starting peace process, that he can extract more concessions from Israel.

What makes Abbas feel he can influence/manipulate Obama?

Abbas, I believe, has drawn an accurate conclusion that President Obama is a very ambitious man. He believes that Obama is anxious to make his mark on the world by accomplishing great things on a global scale.

Middle East Peace – the Biggest Trophy of All

Obama sees a comprehensive Middle East peace a great way to do something no other President or world leader has been able to accomplish up to now. Consequently, Abbas may feel that if he makes enough negative noise that Obama will pressure Israel that much more to make concessions in order to get the peace process started.

The stakes are high for Obama.

If  President Obama cannot succeed in getting the peace process started then he risks looking increasingly weak and impotent on the world stage and that just will not do for this President.

I believe that PA President Abbas senses this and is playing the Middle East card game with this supposition in mind.

Of course Abbas may be wrong and so could I…but this prophetic scenario I guarantee you.. is going to get very interesting!

Joel Chernoff

~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~

Interesting and Prophetic Administration Changes

I recently saw an interesting article ranking the last 12 US presidents as friends of Israel. President Bush (and his administration) was ranked 3rd. The point of the article was asking where the Obama administration was going to rank on this list.

President Obama

President Obama

This question really cannot yet be answered with any certainty; however, in my opinion he has set a negative trajectory with his appointment of George Mitchell and in light of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent proclamations concerning Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Her words indicate Obama’s trajectory. I’ll talk more about this in later blogs.

What is interesting is that we see counterbalancing shifts in leadership in both the US and Israel.

The trajectory in this country is from conservative to far left liberal and quite possibly from strong to weaker support of Israel. Many believe as do I that Obama will put strong pressure on Israel to give up more land and concessions in his desire to make his mark as a great peacemaker much as other Presidents have attempted in their own ways.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Within months of this change in the US administration, we see in Israel the stunning rise of previous Prime Minister and conservative “right” candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party at the expense of the left leaning and previous administration of Olmert/Livni and the Kadima party. Kadima has been leading the charge on the two state solution and has been prepared to give away not just Gaza but also most of Judea and Samaria for peace. In addition, Olmert has even put the division of Jerusalem on the table. Netanyahu is not willing

Gaza Terrorist

Gaza Terrorist

to do this especially since he maintains (and rightly so) that the Arabs do not want peace and that Israel has no real peace partner. Therefore, any land giveaway is not in Israel’s security interests as illustrated when Israel gave back Gaza. The Arabs rapidly turned Gaza into a terrorist state run by terrorists.

Are Netanyahu’s Hands Being Tied?

Presumed Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to create a unity government with Kadima for purposes of presenting Israel with a softer

Tzipi Livni

Tzipi Livni

political face to the international public. Livni and Kadima want no part of it unless Netanyahu shares power with Kadima and/or will guarantee Kadima that he will support the two state solution. Whatever Livni is negotiating for behind closed doors Netanyahu is not buying so an alliance is not likely.

This has left Netanyahu with the politically less desirable task of forming a government of far right religious and secular parties that are not favorable to dividing Israel into two states as well. They are also even more opposed to dividing Jerusalem in any way shape or form. The point is that any move by Netanyahu to “waffle” on the issue of Jerusalem or to consider dividing Israel will be met by the far right parties with the threat of leaving the government and therefore bringing down Netanyahu. This would provoke new elections and Netanyahu would be out. No politician wants to be “out of power” and so he will do everything possible to avoid this.

Once his government is formed, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s hands will essentially be tied on the two state solution and dividing Jerusalem.

Prophetically, the way I see it – God has raised up a leader and government in Israel that can and indeed must withstand US and international pressure over dividing Jerusalem and Israel proper  in order to survive.

Orchestrating the Powerful

netanyahu-and-obama1While President Obama seems to be on a collision course with Israel over Jerusalem and the two state solution, Netanyahu is rising to meet the challenge — whether he likes it or not!

Only God can orchestrate world events at such a high level. He simply will not allow the further division of His Holy Land despite Israel’s often willingness to do so.

In the end only God’s purpose and plan will prevail concerning Israel.

Joel Chernoff

-The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA-