Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Obama vs. Netanyahu

In my last blog I posed this question: "Just how much does Obama hate Israel?" We now have Obama's speech on the Middle East, given at the State Department; as well as his subsequent speech given at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) convention. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke to AIPAC; as well to a joint meeting of Congress, at the invitation of Speaker Boehner.

Obama said that the "borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." The "1967 borders" of which Obama speaks, are the borders as they were before the six day war, when Israel won and got control of Gaza, the Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Those pre-war lines in 1967 were nothing other than the armistice lines from 1949, after the Arab world tried to annihilate Israel. No treaty exists defining those lines as an agreed upon border. That border, at its narrowest point, is less than 9 miles wide, and as Netanyahu said, is "indefensible." Obama tried to soften this position by saying the borders would be adjusted by "mutually agreed swaps." However, reference to the 1967 lines is nothing other than adopting the palestinians' position; not unlike his continued use of the word "occupation," which also tracks the palestinians' position. Furthermore, the Arabs have already indicated they would not agree to any swaps.

Obama suggested that the two sides reach agreement on borders and security, and put off the "emotional issues" of refugees and Jerusalem. This was more of Obama contributing to the liklihood of war in September or shortly thereafter. First, last September, Obama said he would give the parties one year to reach an agreement - until this September. Having already adopted the palestinians' positions last year, including an end to "settlements," the palestinians saw no reason to return to the bargaining table. Second, Obama blew an opportunity to announce to the world that any palestinian "refugees" would only be able to return to a palestinian state. Millions of Arabs (descendants of the original refugees) moving into Israel would end that country as the Jewish State. Obama knows this. If the President of the United States announced this reality to the world, then maybe the peace process could have moved forward. If an agreement is to be made, it must end all issues. Instead, the palestinians have announced their intent to get a state from the UN Security Council in September; with Abbas announcing the goal of "internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter..." In other words, continue the conflict beyond the military, political, boycott, divestiture, and deligitimization tactics, into the legal arena as well. Some peace partner!

As for Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it best: "...the only time that Jews, Christians and Muslims could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites, has been during Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem." When Jordan controlled the West Bank, including Jerusalem, from 1948 through 1967, Jewish holy sites were destroyed. Jews were denied access to the Kotel (Western Wall). When Israel captured Jerusalem, they turned over control of the Temple Mount to the Muslims. The Temple Mount sits above the Wall, is where the Al Aksa Mosque is, and is holy land to the Jews. IT WAS TURNED OVER TO THE MUSLIMS! It would would have been nice to have our President state these truths. The eastern part of Jerusalem, which Obama wants Israel to give up, is where the Old City is located; where the Wall is located. Jerusalem has been the heart of the Jewish homeland for thousands of years. The palestinians can have their capital in Ramallah or Jenin.

Obama said that the palestinians must have a "contiguous" state. How is that possible? Israel sits between Gaza and the West Bank. Does Israel have to give up having a contiguous state?

And what exactly did Obama ask of the palestinians? That they give up terror and accept Israel's right to exist. Good; but they need to accept Israel's right to exist as the Jewish State. If "Palestine" is created, it becomes the 58th muslim state. And the P.A. just entered a unity government with Hamas. After asking how Israel could be expected to negotiate with a party that is unwilling to recognize their right to exist, Obama says: "...Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question." That's it? That is all the toughness he can muster against a group that criticized the killing of bin Laden, describing him as an Arab warrior. Netanyahu said: "Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance." As Netanyahu said, the Hamas Charter says "kill the Jews everywhere you find them." Netanyahu also asked how Israel could be expected to negotiate with "...the Palestinian version of Al Qaida."

But the most important comment by Netanyahu, by far, was this: "You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. This is what this conflict is about." If you have any doubt about the truth of this comment, look at history. The Arabs announced their refusal to accept partition by the UN in 1947, even before the vote. The Arabs attacked Israel the day after they declared their independence. Wars followed in 1967 and 1973. More wars followed with Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as intifadas and constant rocket and missile attacks. All with one goal - the goal stated in both the Hamas and Fatah charters - the destruction of Israel and killing of the Jews. As Netanyahu said, there will not be peace if the palestinians continue to "educate their children to hate." There will not be peace until Abbas (and I would add Hamas) say to their people: "I will accept a Jewish state."

In the 66 years since the end of World War II, only the palestinians, of all the millions of refugees, still retain their status as "refugees." This, of course, is absurd. Millions had to move on to new homelands, often with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. But the palestinians are good at propaganda. And the West continues their deplorable fascination with, and attempted appeasement of, murderers and dictators. Netanyahu said: "Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty." But liberty is not a place where "women are stoned, gays are hanged, (and) Christians are persecuted;" again, quoting from P.M. Netanyahu. As Netanyahu also said: "...less than one-half of one percent (of the 300 million Arabs) are truly free and they're all citizens of Israel." Mr. President, there is a world of difference between fostering liberty and appeasing those who would deny life and liberty to others.

So does our President hate Israel? Or given his initial upbringing in the muslim world, does he just naturally stand with the muslims, as he said he would in one of his books? Or, as Dinesh D'souza has suggested in his new book "The Roots of Obama's Rage," has Obama simply adopted the anti-colonial and anti-West values of the father he never knew? His father, from Africa, opposed the Western European powers colonization of Africa. But French control of North Africa, Belgian control of the Congo, Dutch control of South Africa all differ from Israeli control of the West Bank. The area known as Judea and Samaria was the Jewish homeland, and it came under Israeli rule in modern times because the Arabs chose war and lost. The Israelis did not go looking for foreign lands to capture and control, as the Europeans did. Can Obama tell the difference? I don't know.

It is said that G-d selected the Jewish people to be His "Chosen" people. Jews do not understand this to mean that they are in any way better or superior to others, as we are all G-d's children. Rather, Jews brought to the world "monotheism," the belief and understanding that there is but one G-d. The role of Jews, as the "chosen" people is to be a "light unto the nations." In other words, it is a burden placed on the Jews by G-d. And if Netanyahu is correct that "Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty," then that too is a burden. May our President understand this, and see the difference between those that support liberty and those that seek to destroy it.