Netanyahu’s big sin

Staff Columnist

Benjamin Netanyahu sinned against our president last week. He won an election that the sooth sayers predicted he would lose and, most importantly, one our president wanted him to lose. During the campaign, Netanyahu made two statements the Obama administration and its media allies managed to turn into a cause celebre. Netanyahu said he would not agree to diminish Israeli safety by agreeing to any two-state solution given today’s circumstances. The other was to warn his base that Arab voters, responding to the campaign surrogates Obama unlashed in aid of Netanyahu’s opponent, were voting in record numbers and, he hoped his supporters would do the same. This, according to the politically correct nags that infect our political and media world, was racist. Just how, I don’t really know. I suspect most politicians would urge their followers to vote if the opposition was found to be voting in large numbers.

President Obama in the dawn of his presidency once remarked that he would like to see a bit of daylight between Israel and the United States. If you don’t know what he meant, imagine your apprehension should your spouse ever say, “Honey, I want to put a little daylight between us.” You can bet the next call is from a lawyer giving you the legal definition of “a little daylight.”

All this gave rise to an absurd statement from the White House, one so wrong on so many levels that it is mind boggling.  President Barack Obama, as reported in the New York Times, said, “We take him [Netanyahu] at his word that it [two state agreement] won’t happen during his premiership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”

I suspect that just the opportunity to  issue such a statement caused Obama and Valerie Jarrett to do the victory polka in the West Wing. Finally he can put daylight between Israel and the United States. Finally he can join the European Union in placing sanctions on Israel while simultaneously removing them from Iran. Oh, the joy.

There is disagreement about what Netanyahu said exactly. It doesn’t matter. A two-state solution isn’t going to happen in the near future no matter who won the election.  It won’t happen because the Palestinians don’t want one. There is a reality here and the history of the Mideast peace process confirms that the Palestinians and most of their Arab neighbors have rejected repeated Israeli entireties to negotiate a settlement.

When the U.N. voted to partition Palestine in 1948, Israel accepted while the Arabs rejected the concept; the Arabs immediately attacked, didn’t work out for them. Israel won the right to exist and peace ensued in 1949. In the period 1949 to 1967, what are now called the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordon and Egypt respectively. Here was a golden opportunity to create an independent Palestinian state but neither Jordon or Egypt did so.

In 1967, Egypt, with the support of the Arab League, threatened Israel with a war of annihilation, again it didn’t work out. Israel struck first and what is known as the “67 War” resulted in Israeli control of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel immediately offered to give back the West Bank and Gaza, if in return the Arab League would agree to a cessation of hostilities and recognize Israel and its right to exist. The League met in Khartoum in late 1967 and, in response to the Israeli offer, declared they would not recognize Israel or its right to exist and would not agree to a cessation of hostilities. (Note: I wrote of this meeting in an earlier column and two readers challenged my statement. They were wrong. The Israeli offer and the Khartoum conference rejection of the offer are a matter of historical record.)

Israeli – Palestinian negotiations were resumed in the early 1990s with the active urging of the Clinton administration. The effort culminated in the Camp David negotiations which resulted in Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barack, offering Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, all of Gaza and most of the West Bank. Arafat walked away without even taking the trouble to make a counter offer. There is still a dispute as to which side is responsible for the failure but former President Bill Clinton blamed Arafat for the collapse.

Other efforts followed. The Taba Summit in 2001, the Road Map agreement of 2003, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, The Mitchell-led talks in 2010 and 2011 and the current effort led by Secretary of State, John Kerry. All were unsuccessful. For Obama to somehow credit the collapse of Palestinian and Israeli peace talks to Netanyahu’s campaign statement requires an almost total ignorance of the history of the Mideast or the desire to walk back America’s traditional pro-Israeli stance no matter the reason.

Obama, when justifying his treat to abandon Israel in the U.N., also said we didn’t want a “chaotic situation in the region.” Hasn’t Obama been paying attention? Chaos in the Mideast is a daily reality. Last week Yemen descended into chaos and neared civil war. The situation is so dire that remaining U.S. and British Special Forces were removed from a base where they were waging a drone war against al Qaeda.  Syria continues to be afflicted by civil war, Libya is wracked by competing Jihadi groups, Tunisia is now the target of a new ISIS offensive, Boko Haram, now allied with ISSI, continues to spread terror in Africa, Iran still develops nuclear power and finances terror throughout the region and Obama, for whatever reason, continues to give the cold shoulder to the new pro-American government in Egypt.

Actually, Obama was going to walk back the Israeli – American relationship whatever happened in the Israeli election. An American media, either hopelessly ignorant of the history of the Mideast, or hopelessly cynical, gave Obama a little media cover which allowed him to be unattractively petulant while he started changing a decades long relationship with Israel.








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