President Obama shockingly said last Sunday that Israel can "expect to face international isolation and possible sanctions from countries and companies across the world" if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to endorse a framework agreement with the Palestinians.
It appears the flailing, inexperienced president has now brought a diplomatic wall between the United States most trusted ally (by far) in the Middle East and its only democracy in favor of an agreement that will strategically impair Israel’s right to exist in an area of the world where they are surrounded by sworn enemies.
How has America come to this sort of foreign policy that punishes our friends and rewards our foes?
Obama was interviewed by Bloomberg Media stressing “time is running out for Israel to achieve a peace deal,” and added he believes Prime Minister Netanyahu had the capacity to “rally Israel’s citizens behind an agreement.”
Then came the muted threat - If Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach,” Obama said.
What alternative approach after threatening the tiny nation with isolation if they do not abide to his plan?
And then, as if Obama has any idea what the Israelis face, he said “There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices.”
He wasn’t through yet.
The president condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank, although (as an afterthought) his allegiance to the Jewish state “was permanent. “If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction , and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time, if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited,” Obama said.
Since when did Israel’s concerns come second? Certainly not under any president since the Jewish State was founded in 1948.
“Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?” he asked.
Asked whether he felt Abbas (the leader of “Free Palestine”) was sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, the president replied that he was “sure that was the case.”
How does he have any idea if that is true considering the history of the conflict? How?
Netanyahu left for Washington last Sunday for talks about the US-led peace process and nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran. The two have met in private with no sense of accomplishment on “Obama’s demands.”
It is unclear if Iran was even brought up. The president is obsessed with scoring an historic diplomatic victory at any cost.
The White House appears to have a different agenda.
The history of the latest direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians beginning last July have made no visible progress. Yet the President of the United States, with community organizer and U.S. Senator for two years on his professional resume, feels he is qualified to change that.
Obama’s “proposal” will likely be presented to Netanyahu this week and to Abbas on March 17 when he meets Obama at the White House.
Judging by the presidents’ abysmal record of triumphs in his five years as president, does any credible foreign policy expert on the Middle East see this Band-Aid approach working?
* If you have enjoyed this column, may I suggest you scroll down this page and press the SUBSCRIBE box? It's FREE. Thank you for your patronage.
** Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org