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.