There are few things that frustrate President Obama more than not having his way. He can play endless rounds of bad golf, repeatedly circle the globe on the American taxpayer’s dime, treat Congress like Walter White behind the pharmacy counter at Walgreens, and generally goof off and demean the office in new and unpleasant ways. But he can’t seem to get his arms around Benjamin Netanyahu and the intractable Middle East problem. And this vexes him to no end.
When Barack Hussein Obama first took office, he believed that he would be the first “fusion” president, one who can bridge the gap between ancient and enduring Muslim-Jewish differences, and make both see the light of his reason. He’s spent six years pulling levers and pushing buttons, to no avail. Israel just plods along on its own path, led by Netanyahu, who has become Obama’s nemesis. Less than six months into his presidency, Obama said in Cairo:
I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
He really believes this. Obama believes that justice, progress, and tolerance can win the day, and he sees Netanyahu as the agitator. While professing “eternal support” for Israel, he waited until his second term to visit, remarking:
As I begin this visit let me say as clearly as I can: The United States of America stands with the state of Israel because it is in our fundamental national security interests to stand with Israel,” Obama said. “It makes us both stronger, it makes us both more prosperous, and it makes the world a better place.
That’s why the United States was the very first nation to recognize the state of Israel 65 years ago. That’s why the Star of David and the stars and stripes fly together today. And that’s why I’m confident that our alliance is eternal. It is forever.
The problem is simple: there is no mutual interest and mutual respect between Islam and Israel. When groups like Hamas have in their charter these words “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad”, and “The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region”, there’s no room for peace. In fact, Hamas renounces peace: “[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” Netanyahu recognizes this basic problem, and follows a course of action to protect Israel, at great cost, both monetary* and in lives.
When Obama has to play diplomatic and semantic games to pretend that the Taliban and its ilk aren’t linked to Al Queda, ISIS, Hamas and Hizbollah by common doctrine, but Netanyahu doesn’t play along, it really vexes the POTUS. And with less than two years left, Obama has to move fast to cement himself as the one who solved the Middle East problem—specifically the Palestinian problem.
What is Obama’s Israel end game?
First, he is determined to remove Netanyahu, who is up for election on March 17—in no small part due to the White House’s “crisis creation” which contributed to the Likud’s coalition government’s collapse. Despite the White House’s denials, “to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country”, Obama is doing everything he can to topple Netanyahu and his Likud party from power. Jeremy Bird, one of Obama’s former campaign strategists, is in Israel helping V15, whose goal is to “simply replace the government”—with one that supports a two-state solution. V15 is funded by OneVoice, which accepts cash from Europe and other sources outside Israel.
During a press conference Sunday, the Likud Party officially accused V15 and other related nonprofits of being supported “through millions of dollars funneled from Europe, the U.S. and the New Israel Fund and international factors interested in bringing down Prime Minister Netanyahu” who think “that all means are appropriate.”
Next, Obama wants to fill President Truman’s shoes. Currently, 135 U.N. members officially recognize Palestine as an independent state, Sweden being the most recent. Last March, President Obama received Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and now leader of the new unity government formed last June, at the White House. Obama remarked:
…the Palestinian Authority has continued to try to build strong institutions in preparation for a day in which the Palestinians have their own state, and I will continue to emphasize the importance of rule of law, transparency, and effective reform so that not only do the Palestinians ultimately have a state on paper, but, more importantly, they have one that actually delivers on behalf of their people.
I believe President Obama intends to fully recognize the state of Palestine de facto as the legitimate government of a sovereign state, leading to a de jure recognition and opening of an American embassy in Palestine. Furthermore, Obama may inflame the situation more by placing the American embassy in East Jerusalem—a location in Jerusalem denied to Israel (the U.S. Embassy to Israel is in Tel Aviv).
This action will precipitate a crisis—the same crisis Carter faced when he recognized the People’s Republic of China. China doesn’t recognize Taiwan, and made it a precondition for the U.S. to sever official ties with the ROC. Congress responded with the Taiwan Relations Act, but Taiwan still does not enjoy full de jure recognition by the U.S.—or the U.N. Of course, Palestine can’t dictate terms like China, so the U.S. will still enjoy relations with Israel—for a time.
After U.S. recognition, the U.N. will certainly immediately admit Palestine as a full voting member. Once this occurs, Israel will have no choice but to accept a two-state solution, because it will be imposed with or without its consent. If Netanyahu remains in power, war is almost inevitable—Israel’s enemies will have a green light to attack Israel with impunity, and will do it with a savagery and intensity never before seen. If Netanyahu is defeated, and the more liberal Tzipi Livni leads the left-bloc coalition into power—the two-state solution will be welcomed, at least at first.
But here’s the problem: two items are enshrined in Israel’s Basic Law (its Constitution). One: that Israel is a Jewish state, and two: that Jerusalem, “complete and unified” is the capital of Israel. Neither of these items will ever be accepted by the Palestinians. Any two-state solution will have to include the status of Jerusalem and the right of return, and on those, Israel’s enemies will not compromise. How do we know this? One reason is that Abbas said so. Another is that the Arabs never have, not for the last 68 years, and not for the last 80 years. At some point, either Israel will have to change it’s Basic Law, abrogating its claim of Jerusalem, and its establishment as the Jewish state, or there will be war. And if Israel changes its Basic Law, why do we need a two-state solution? Demographics will take care of the problem—the Arabs will rule, and the Jews will be marginalized.
This isn’t the same problem that Taiwan and the PRC face—the Chinese in Taiwan and the Chinese in mainland China are both Chinese, with the same heritage and ethnicity. Their problem is purely political. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is both more deeply rooted and more culturally motivated than the Chinese. Red China considers Taiwan to be a part of itself, but tolerates its independent existence. A national Palestine will not tolerate a Jewish state. It will not tolerate a secular state run by Jews. The Jews must be marginalized.
We know what happens when the Jews are marginalized—because that’s a kind term for “expelled” or “exterminated”. Christians too. Obama’s legacy won’t be as the savior who brings peace to the Middle East and solves the Israel-Palestine conflict through “justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings”. Instead, his reckless course will only lead to bloodshed, disaster, and the total subjugation of the Middle East to Islamic radicals, with Israel standing alone.
President Obama could be the biggest enemy of the State of Israel since its founding in 1948. His end game must fail.
*Almost 20% of Israel’s government budget went to defense, comprising over 5% of its GDP. It is outspent eight to one by its neighboring enemies.
(crossposted from sgberman.com)