In the last few days before his much anticipated speech in Cairo, Egypt, President Obama has chosen to speak, not just through surrogates, but also directly as to the direction he is headed with the Middle East conflict and Israel.
Here are a few of the important statements he has made with my translation as to their meaning:
- Obama: Although the US needs to maintain its strong support for Israel, Washington also has to be “honest” with Israel regarding the direction in which the region is heading, even if this includes resorting to “tough love”.
- Translation: Previous Presidents have not been strong enough to make Israel do what it should and needs to do for the best interests of Israel and the US. He, President Obama, is tough enough and determined enough to make Israel do what other President’s did not have the will to do and force Israel to comply with his plan for the Middle East.
- Obama: I don’t think (emphasis mine) we have to change strong support for Israel. We do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace, and that’s going to require, from my view, a two-state solution.
- Translation: The 50 year position the US has taken of standing with Israel through “thick and thin” is no longer a sure thing. In order to maintain US support, Israel must now do what Obama feels is the right way to handle things. It’s Obama’s way or the highway.
- Obama: Part of being a good friend is being “honest” and I think there have been times where we were not as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also US interests. And that’s part of a new dialogue that I’d like to see encouraged in the region.
- Translation: There is a new sheriff in town and I am going to try a radically new approach of courting the Muslims and if necessary sacrificing our long term relationship with Israel if they do not act in the best interests for the US.
- Obama: The United States has to follow through on what it says. It is important for us to be clear about what we believe will lead to peace – and that there is no equivocation.
- Translation: I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I am not backing down so don’t challenge me on this or you will force me to play “hardball” with you.
So How is PM Netanyahu Taking All of This?
This is the first time I have heard an Israeli Prime Minister flat out contradict a US President in public. Usually statecraft dictates handling things indirectly and discreetly. President Obama has left Netanyahu no options. Netanyahu’s response has been…
- The demand to freeze all settlement growth even natural growth is “unreasonable”.
- He also said, “It is likely that we are not going to reach an agreement with the Americans regarding settlement construction.”
The possibility of a deep rift between Israel and this President’s administration is very high.
How is the Palestinian Authority Responding?
PA President Abbas was not only surprised and happy with this unexpected turn of events but also made it very clear from news sources that there are a few items that Obama has proposed in his new Middle East plans which are completely unacceptable to the Palestinians. They are as follows:
- The right of return of millions of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
- The establishment of an independent state with all of East Jerusalem including the Old City as its capital.
- Lastly Abbas has said, “The only way to achieve real and lasting peace is by forcing Israel to withdraw from all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”
Is the Cairo Speech Important?
As you can see, his speech tomorrow could signal a complete change in US relations with Israel and the Muslim world. This President believes he can handle the religious fanaticism of radical Islam. In short I believe he feels he can solve the world’s problems if you just give him what he wants and enough time.
Where is this headed prophetically?
There is no absolute certainty yet but I believe that unless Obama pulls back from the harsh measures he is planning (i.e. the tough love he has talked about) to make Israel compliant with his new Middle East plan he will force Israel into a final Arab/Israeli war. Unless Israel gives Obama what he wants, which I do not believe is going to happen–Israel will have no other choice than to attempt to resolve the conflict once and for all militarily.
Keep one eye on this speech tomorrow and one eye on Isaiah 11 which describes the Final Arab/Israeli war. I will blog on this more in the future.
~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~