ICEJ News Special Commentary – Behind Obama’s battering of Israel

Here is something that came in my mail box this morning which has not yet made it onto the web, as far as I can tell. International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is an emissary of the church which exhibits a great deal of respect and support for the people and nation of Israel. I previously reprinted some first hand observations on the matter of apartheid by its executive director here. Today I received a special commentary written by its media director David Parsons. In it he raises several key points regarding the Obama Administration’s current antagonism toward the Jewish state, among them:

It is apparent that President Obama unjustly questions Israel’s desire for peace, “even while Palestinian Authority leaders are avoiding peace talks like the plague.” Palestinian Authority officials from Mahmoud Abbas on down have refused to talk to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. If called to task on the matter, they have a constant supply of pretexts, happily supplied by Washington itself.

Parsons also cites instances of dishonesty toward Israel on the part of the Obama Administration: such as Secretary Clinton disowning an agreement the US made with Israel, for which she voted in Congress, or of Clinton criticizing an action as having been committed by Hamas, when it was in reality  done by our supposed “peace partner” Fatah.

There have also been indications coming from chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel that this Administration has secretly set an objective to declare a Palestinian State before the end of Obama’s first term in office.

First term? This is just my opinion, but let’s pray to God that it’s his only term, and that at least some of his more damaging objectives remain unrealized.

Here is David Parsons’ special commentary:

Behind Obama’s battering of Israel
-by David ParsonObama has been leaning on Netanyhau while watching Abbas's back (AP) s

After one year in office, it seemed US President Barack Obama had learned some lessons in conducting foreign policy and was ready to back off some of his heavy handed tactics in dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It had become all too obvious that Obama had blundered by hammering away at Israel on settlements, while giving the Palestinians a free pass.

Thus, US Vice President Joe Biden paid a solidarity visit to Jerusalem in March to reassure Israeli leaders on Washington’s balanced approach to peacemaking with the Palestinians. But then the Obama administration deliberately ratcheted up the pressure again over the issue of Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and relations soured once more.

It has been manifestly unfair for the US administration to treat its closest democratic ally in the region and arguably the world in this manner. Obama has gone so far as to question Israel’s desire for peace, even while Palestinian Authority leaders are avoiding peace talks like the plague. When Netanyahu came into office last spring, PA officials from Mahmoud Abbas down unanimously said they would not talk to him “in a thousand years.” All their subsequent preconditions to talks are merely pretexts, often conveniently supplied by Washington, which has yet to hold them accountable for their intransigence.

Besides being unfair, the Obama administration has also been dishonest in its dealings with Israel. Early on, for instance, Netanyahu reminded the new Administration of the letter delivered in April 2004 by former US President George W. Bush to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon containing key American commitments to Israel regarding the Palestinian track. But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brushed the letter aside as no longer binding, even though as a US Senator she had voted for a joint congressional resolution which endorsed the Bush letter as official US policy.

Poster of PLO commando Dalal Mughrabi: Why would Hamas want to honor a Fatah heroine? (AP)Another clear example of the dishonesty can be seen when Clinton went before the annual AIPAC policy conference in March and criticized Hamas for its incitement against Israel. Yet her comments on the incitement issue had actually been prompted by the Israeli government specifically complaining to the US State Department that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Salaam Fayyad were honoring PLO terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, the leader of the notorious “Coastal Road Massacre” in 1978. Clinton is now trying to correct the record by finally confronting the PA about its own incitement, but only after being caught in an embarrassing fib.

All this has left many wondering what exactly is Obama up to with his heavy pressure on Netanyahu while coddling the Palestinians. Besides courting favor with the wider Arab/Islamic world, one commentator close to Obama recently chalked up the festering quarrel over Jewish housing in east Jerusalem to the White House wanting to bring the more dovish Opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima into the coalition. That may be a welcome outcome of the arm-twisting, but the ultimate goal is two-fold.

Will Obama continue to commit blunders in the Middle East?First, the Obama administration is sending a message of “no adventurism on Iran.” By making Netanyahu sweat over a manufactured issue like the Ramat Shlomo housing approvals, Obama is signaling that Netanyahu is being kept on a short leash, meaning any unilateral Israeli actions regarding Iran will n ot be tolerated. If the Netanyahu government deems it necessary to pre-empt the growing threat of Tehran’s renegade nuclear program, no one should expect America to cover its back in trying to manage the global fallout from such actions.

Secondly, the Administration is unnecessarily battering Netanyahu in a bid to soften his opposition to a Palestinian state, which they hope to declare within Obama’s first term in office. White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel said as much to an American Jewish leader last year, according to Yediot Aharonot, and I don’t think it was a slip of the tongue.

In this regard, Obama and his team have misread the Israeli public. Obama believes Netanyahu does not truly represent the views of most Israelis, but he does. They have been conditioned by years of violence, terror and foreign pressure into being ready to give up the West Bank for peace. Yet they remain highly skeptical that there is a peace partner on the Palestinian side who can keep their end of the bargain. Obama will make an even bigger blunder if he persists in thinking the Palestinians are currently ready for a state that would live at peace with Israel.

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