By Moshe Dann
Why would President Obama place American prestige, money, and influence on the line for a three-month restriction on Jewish building in areas conquered by Israel in 1967? Another round of negotiations is doomed to fail, since Palestinian leaders have already refused to resume talks unless the freeze applies to eastern Jerusalem. Why is Obama pushing this snowball, knowing that any substantive agreement is unlikely in such a short time, if at all?
Agreeing to Israeli conditions for a written commitment not to demand further construction halts, a squadron of fighter planes, and the repulsion of Palestinian moves toward statehood at the U.N. for one year might serve Obama as an excuse for vetoing a Palestinian appeal to the United Nations Security Council. But that hardly seems worth the concessions to Israel. And then what happens after a year?
Accepting U.S. “incentives” (bribes) is humiliating for Israel — putting politics and money before principle. PM Netanyahu promised that the initial freeze was “one-time only.” And accepting Israeli conditions is degrading for America. Both sides are morally compromised; but Israel is portrayed as venal and conniving, trying to avoid making peace while extorting rewards — a typical anti-Jewish stereotype.
As Elliott Abrams and Michael Singh wisely observe:
[T]he troubling precedents set by this package will serve to dim rather than enhance prospects for a breakthrough in peace negotiations. … The most worrying aspect of Obama’s package is the linkages it establishes between Israeli concessions on settlements (and apparently on the pace of construction in Jerusalem as well) and other unrelated policy matters. … With this latest gambit, the United States is trying to rescue a policy that is not worth rescuing.
What if, however, Obama’s goal has nothing to do with any “peace process,” agreements, or concessions? What if, magician-like, he and his administration are distracting from their hidden agenda: delegitimizing Israel?
In April, Obama suggested that the safety of American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and America’s “vital national security interests,” were linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He blamed Israel for the impasse.
Obama’s strategy to weaken and isolate Israel by forcing concessions is evident in his focus on Israeli settlements as “illegal” and “unacceptable,” his extreme protests against any and all Jewish home-building in Judea and Samaria (even in Jerusalem), and his direct challenge to Israel to expose its nuclear capability and join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Demanding another “freeze” for three months fits the pattern of maligning Israel.
After the moratorium expires, assuming that nothing changes, Israel will again be blamed and vilified for failing to make “concessions for peace,” “stealing Palestinian land,” and “oppressing Palestinians.” Obama can claim that he tried his best, the Palestinians will be given a pass, and Israel will be further ostracized and condemned. Israel is trapped.
If Israel agrees to American conditions and accepts the bribes, she loses her integrity and the advantage she now has — having unilaterally frozen Jewish construction for more than a year without any positive results.
If Israel doesn’t agree, she will appear unwise and ungrateful, further undermining her position. Obama can again blame Israel for preventing peace, for American inaction against Iran, and for the failures in Afghanistan.
Given Israeli and Palestinian demands and realities, Obama knows that a three-month deal will achieve nothing. The outcome, however, will denote Israel as a pariah state. This is consistent with the process of delegitimization that has spread throughout the world.
That explains why the U.S. did not object to condemnations of Israel at the U.N. and in Europe. It also explains Obama’s “outreach to the Muslim world” and his enmity towards Israel.
Filled with prejudices and distortions of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright, and anti-Israel friends, like Rashid Khalidi, Obama reveals that his hostility to Israel, like that of many European politicians, is aggravated by Israel’s resistance to his demands. But Obama’s punishing Israel for refusing to agree with him has real consequences which threaten Israel’s survival.
Unable to defeat her militarily, Israel’s enemies condemn her as immoral, illegal, an outlaw among nations, guilty of apartheid, war criminals, anti-human, even Nazi-like.
Obama’s policy failures, therefore, are not just naÃ¯ve mistakes or impractical; they seem intended to ostracize and weaken Israel until she gives in and/or is destroyed. Obama’s radical change in American foreign policy toward Israel, his overreaction to apartment-building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, his deliberate snubs, and his offensive attitude all serve to demonize Israel and cripple her standing in the world.
This agenda ignores a simple fact: If this were a territorial dispute, it would have been resolved during the last 63 years.
A second/third Arab Palestinian state will not end the conflict, but perpetuate it — and with the help of Hamas and Hezb’allah via Iran, the idea of another such state threaten Israel’s survival and the stability of the entire region.
Blaming Israel for resisting such a state creates an atmosphere of hatred and contempt. That delegitimization seems to be exactly what Obama’s administration seeks.