Tag Archives: Israeli settlements

Settlements, schmettlements and Israeli security

Pres. Barack Hussein Obama appears determined as part of his “legacy” to leave relations in ruins with the U.S.’ most important ally in the Mideast, Israel.

Last week U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro blew it. Shapiro is a liberal hack in the peculiar tradition of Washington – Pres. George Bush did it too – that seems to believe appointing leftist American Jews to represent it to an increasingly conservative Israel will solve problems. In the midst of the Knife Intifada, an explosion of largely young Moslem fanatical Palestinians attacking civilians and soldiers, Shapiro indicted the Israelis for a double standard in treating violence. He said the Israelis had failed to punish Jewish “vigilantist” attacks on Arabs. With a tortured Israeli judicial process, even more convoluted than the American one, this seems a false charge.

Shapiro’s speech came only hours after, a pregnant woman from Tekoa, a settlement in the Judean Hills, was stabbed and seriously injured by a Palestinian teenager in the local grocery. The evening before a Jewish mother of six, was stabbed to death in front of her 17-year-old daughter at their home in the settlement of Otniel.

Since September 2015, twenty-eight people have been killed in attacks including stabbings, car rammings and shootings — 25 Jewish Israelis, one Eritrean, one US citizen and one Palestinian. The Palestinian say 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces or civilians in that time, with over 15,000 injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers. European governments, some Israelis peace activists and some American observers have accused the Israelis of overreaction to the attacks. But it is hard to see how Israelis under such personal attack might be more judicious in resisting attempts at their murder.

The truth is that while there appears to be no central direction from Palestinian leadership for these attacks, they are the result of a vicious campaign of instilling hatred and calling for bloodshed among young Arabs. Among the most guilty is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East [UNWRA], the only UN refugee organization devoted to one group. UNWRA schools are notorious for their fanaticism for the Palestinian cause and during fighting in Gaza, they were used as fortresses by the Hamas terrorists. At this writing, the latest episode of a 16-year-old Arab boy attacking Israeli soldiers is all too typical.

Sec. of State John Kerry continues to talk about an Israeli-Palestinian peace process to create two independent states living in peace. The truth is that the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which is accused of incitement to violence in Arabic statements while professing peacemaking in English, has lost all credibility. Hundreds of millions of dollars of UN, European, and above all, American, aid has disappeared down the rat hole of corrupt leadership. If Abbas were to permit long postponed elections, it seems likely that Moslem terrorist representatives would win in the so-called West Bank as they did in Gaza.

The Obama Administration, in a typically schizophrenic strategy, while military collaboration – including exchange of important technology – has grown stronger between the Americans and the Israelis, has dynamited the political process. Despite repeated professions of allegiance to the alliance, top Obama officials are seen as inimitable to Israeli interests, including its growing security concerns with Iranian assisted armed forces on all Israel’s borders.

Obama’s flirtation with the Iranian mullahs – in an agreement for blocking its nuclear armaments which few Mideast observers believe is viable – has set up a tacit alliance between Jerusalem and Cairo. The perception of a common threat from Iran’s mullahs has even opened highly publicized conversations between the Israelis and their old bitter enemies, the Saudis, and the Gulf states. In effect, there is a new alliance excluding the Americans.

The Obama Administration has made Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank ancestral home of the Hebrew kingdoms of antiquity, its test for progress. The greatest part of this population of some 300,000 is in bedroom communities of Jerusalem. Obama appears to ignore the obvious analogy of how an Arab population of 1.5 million, about 20% of Israel’s population within the old pre-1967 borders, is to be accommodated as Israeli citizens but a growing number of Jews not permitted to live in the Occupied areas. Many of the settlements, too, represent security strongpoints in a geography much smaller than most foreigners realize.

Shapiro’s harangue suggests that Obama may try some new initiative, leaving one more enormous muddle for the next presidency.







Horror vacui

Pres. Barak Hussein Obama has given new meaning to that epithet “imperial presidency”. It was slung at Pres. Richard Nixon not only for his extravagant “palace guard” – some in kitschy uniforms – but his more serious unconstitutional overreach.

But if imperial in his style, Mr. Obama reigns; he does not rule.

Whether domestic or foreign policy, Mr. Obama abdicates to Congressional or bureaucratic control then spins the often resulting muddle as something for which he is not responsible. It results, for example, in outgoing Sec. of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen pontificating far above their pay grade, to be contradicted almost instantaneously by events or Mr. Obama himself. The President’s hands-on applies only to maintaining his leftwing political base, whether Wisconsin unionists or Washington lobbies, reinforcing his South Side Chicago-Hyde Park 1960s leftwing agenda and his search for reelection campaign dollars.

Given the presidency’s dual role as chief of state as well as chief executor, celebration of a multitude of ceremonies is necessary and fitting – all the more in times of peril when the nation’s spirit needs uplift. But Mr. Obama’s sports addiction, his gliterrati extravaganzas, his causal acknowledgement of our closest allies’ tragedies, and his wife’s Marie-Antoinette progressions are increasingly bizarre. Importing a Chicago Daley mob family member, supposedly as a pragmatic chief of staff, so far has not injected restraint much less austerity.

This standard operating procedure is reinforced by Mr. Obama’s denigration of historic American accomplishments, often on foreign soil. Symptomatically, in the one international arena where he has sought leadership, relations with the Muslim world, there’s almost total disaster. Having made what he, if not most scholars, considered two seminal speeches offering renewed friendship with Islam, American interests are now in jeopardy in both locales. Turkey, site of his first lecture, once a stalwart NATO ally, defies the West’s policies on the Iranian nuclear weapons issue, the greatest threat now facing the alliance. His Cairo speech, seemingly falling on deaf ears, was followed by his bemused Administration fostering regime change but adding little to its still awaited outcome.

Of course Pres. Obama did not create these long simmering crises. But he contributes to them through his Administration’s lack of faith in American power, hard and soft. Favoring multilateralism to American leadership, his UN representative, Amb. Susan Rice, preaches that gospel but neglects reform of the organization’s abysmal corruption and inadequacy for which taxpayers pick up too much of the tab. Only when Muammar Qadaffi began slaughtering his own people did Washington join to redress the charade of Libya’s prominence on the UN Human Rights Council.

In this world of rampant behaviorism and relativism, Aristotle may not dominate as he once did. And his concept that nature abhors a vacuum [horror vacui in Latin] may be questioned with such new mysteries as black holes in outer space. But we are getting  its proof in what happens geopolitically when the world’s paramount power chooses not to lead. Or worse still, when Mr. Obama trumpets policy without following through. Minor players with fewer resources, physical and intellectual, take the field exacerbating regional conflicts in an increasingly intertwined world.

Nowhere has that been more apparent than Washington’s approach to the Egyptian regime’s collapse, the Bahrain religious conflict and now the Libyan civil war with their attendant growing threat to world energy supplies.

Like a sick dog to its vomit, Washington returns again and again to the Israel-Palestine issue as the magic bullet to cure Mideast troubles. It’s the one international issue where the President enthusiastically commits his prestige. But having chosen Israeli settlements in areas won in the 1967 war as fundamental – it was subsidiary until he came along – Mr. Obama jeopardizes Israel’s basic security further postponing any agreement. The absurdity of his position is self evident: in a “two-state solution”, he ignores Israel’s almost 2-million Arabs but infers a Palestinian state must be “judenrein”.

Elsewhere lack of U.S. leadership – even withholding rhetorical support for Iran’s opposition — has helped extend Tehran leadership’s religious fanatic and kleptocratic tentacles across the Fertile Crescent. The Persian Mullahs have managed to play all sides in “the Arab spring”. Not only does Tehran use Shia Syrian and Lebanese co-sectarians, but it sponsors Sunni Palestinian terrorism including Hamas, offspring of Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood. [The latest unspeakably barbaric murder of an Israeli family eclipsed by the Japanese catastrophe was apparently Tehran-sponsored.] Iran may well profit from whatever comes of Mr. Obama’s belated moves to oust Qadaffi.

The arguments against American intervention in Libya were strong. Though Washington’s choice was to disremember his murder of Americans, in a Berlin discothèque in 1986 and PanAmerican 103 at Lockerbie in 1988, it is not forgotten in a region where mayhem and revenge are ever present. Ultimately, Mr. Obama could no more ignore Tripoli [ah! the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson and his Marines!] than rising oil prices spurred by Obama Administration counterproductive domestic energy policies could fail to cripple American recovery.

Thus Pres. Obama and the U.S. have been sucked into an undelineated vacuum, in part of his own making.