Some critics say that President Obama is “Anti-Israel” or “Pro-Muslim”, but I don’t think so. In fact, I think he wishes only the best for the State of Israel. And I’m sure that he honestly wants Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peaceful resolution to their century’s old problem. However, I do believe that President Obama’s Israel – Palestinian Policy is unwise- so much so, that it has literally set back the Mid-East Peace process by several decades.
Anyone who even knows just a little about Bibi Netanyahu knows that he is a confident man with a strong sense of pride for both his country and his own leadership. I don’t claim to be an expert on the Peace Process, but as a Republican, a Jew, and someone who once lived in Israel, I wanted to at least, weigh in on the subject.
I am not of the school of thought that America needs to lead the way on this issue. Although America, as a global power and Israel’s main ally has a role to play in peace negotiations, it is actually Israel, and the Palestinians, that must themselves take the lead. When President Obama made the statement “The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” I think he literally drew a line in the sand that neither party (the Israelis and the Palestinians) will agree to cross, without a crazy game of “ chicken” ( We will If they do).
President Obama’s statement backed Israel, and Netanyahu, into a corner. No doubt, in Bibi’s mind, he had no other choice but to immediately react with firm and strong words of dissent. I am sure he believed it was essential to do just that! The reaction of Hamas just hours later, stating that the pre-1967 Borders lines don’t go far enough and that Israel should revert back to the 1948 lines indicates why. If there is to ever be a two-State solution it needs to be the natural outgrowth of negotiations between the parties, and not a dictate imposed from above. Because Obama’s issued his pronouncement from the mountaintop (as it were), it immediately triggered additional demands from the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the Middle East is in the throws of the “Arab Spring,” and entering a period of political instability. It is a fragile, unstable, time. Unfortunately, the President’s unilateral action here sends a clear message to HAMAS, HEZBOLLAH, and other terrorist groups that as long as Obama is President he will side with the Palestinians, and put negotiating pressure on Israel, regarding the 1967 borders. In a sense, he has imposed a condition on the Israeli side, without requiring any sort of concession, or quid pro quo, from the Palestinian one. Those are the types of “negotiations” extremist groups crave.
If Israel was to agree to such borders or even a variation of the suggestion I think it would place Israel in a situation where they would be hard pressed to defend the Eastern regions from a multitude of attacks. They would be vulnerable to rockets, suicide bombings and other acts of violence the likes at which they have not seen in decades. How do you defend a country that is surrounded by nations that want to destroy you and push you into the sea?
Israel has gone to war in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973-74, and it has lived through two bloody Intifadas. When Israel gave back the Gaza strip within 24 hours the mortar fire started with shelling into Israeli border towns. Similarly, the withdrawal from southern Lebanon also led to further bloodshed. Indeed, Hezbollah interpreted it as a sign of weakness, not as an overture, or an opportunity, for peace. When a shark smalls blood in the water, it goes in for the kill. The same is true for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. They are emboldened by the appearance of weakness, and spurred on to further acts of violence by the appearance that Israel is increasingly isolated on the international stage.
Land for peace has been tried, twice, and instead of peace, it has brought rockets, raids, and death.
For those of you who think it’s silly to not just give the land to the Palestinians (after all they were here first, or so they think), I turn your attention to the Native American Indians in our beloved United States. If they wanted to get their land back to make a sovereign country of their own, would Americans be so willing to do that? Let’s say all they wanted was New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Are the Celts entitled to a return of Britain and France? Does Germany get back the former East Prussia? Do the Greeks reclaim large swaths of Anatolia? Should the Albanian inhabitants of Kosovo pack up and move away so that the Serbs can have it back? There is no land on this earth, occupied by one people today, that did not at some former time belong to another.
Now back to Israel! I will leave you with this thought to ponder. Place yourself in the shoes of those Jews living in Israel. Those people who only wanted a place to call their own after being almost obliterated in Eastern Europe during WWII. Through tough negotiations in 1947 the UN voted (33-13) to allow Israel to become the Jewish State it is today! It was at that same time that the Palestinians were offered their own sovereign piece of land they refused. They wanted Israel and all of it! Unwilling to negotiate then, unwilling to do so now….. How would you solve the problem?