President Obama has thrown Israel completely under the bus with his demand that they return to their pre-1967 borders as a basis for forming a Palestinian state.
Obama’s inexperience factor was on full display Thursday when he made the stunning demand that Israel return to its 1967 borders as a precondition to Palestinian statehood. Many a US president has wandered into the minefield of Mideast politics only to be handed his head. They either believe that they have the magic answer that can bring everyone to the table, or they are pushed into the region by factors beyond their control. There have been precious few successes in the region, yet our leaders keep trying. The one constant of US policy in the Mideast has been our staunch support of Israel as the only democracy in the region. Now Obama has made the task that much harder by alienating our only regional ally. Not a good precedent for peace negotiations.
While Mideast fighting has raged off and on for centuries, the modern conflict as we know it developed after World War II when displaced European Jews resettled in Palestine and forced out the Palestinians who had taken over. The roots of this conflict go back to British Colonialism when a young Winston Churchill helped to arbitrarily redraw the Mideast map following World War I. This redistricting effort consisted of lines on a map drawn with no thought as to the actual people groups, tribal animosities, or historical borders and was doomed to exacerbate regional tensions. The territory of Israel has been disputed since the Old Testament of the Bible when Abraham actually purchased it from the Hittites, and Joshua fought to liberate it following the Exodus from Egypt. However, Israel is synonymous with the Jews and their claim over the territory has a long historical precedence.
Arab leaders have used the Palestinians and their “cause” of regaining their land as a straw man to vent their anti-Semitism and deflect attention away from their oppressive and failed regimes in order to prolong their stays in power and keep their peoples shackled. Whenever their people started grumbling about their poor conditions, they would attack Israel in support of the Palestinian cause and ride a wave of nationalism. Never mind the fact that if any of these Arab countries truly cared for the Palestinians, they could easily cede them some territory for the creation of their vaunted Palestinian state. They prefer to keep the Palestinians disgruntled and doing the dirty work of their fighting against Israel. This satisfies their selfish desires of blaming all the region’s troubles on the Jews without having to dirty their hands. They share this fact and their autocratic governing styles with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.
Israel has been goaded by the United States into peace negotiations over territory they control with a disingenuous negotiating partner in the Palestinians who care nothing for peace but actually profit from continued fighting. Add to this an internecine struggle between the rival Fatah and Hamas Palestinian factions, both of which are dedicated to “erasing Israel off the map and eradicating the Jews from the face of the earth,” and you have a recipe for failure. Obama has constantly supported the Palestinians and ignored their bad behavior in his support of their side over Israel. He has pressured Israel to make endless concessions, convinced that Israel is the stumbling block to peace while ignoring the obvious fact that Palestinians have no interest in ending the unrest that keeps their corrupt administrations in power.
In the world of diplomacy, it is important to present a consistent policy that demonstrates to others that you are a reliable ally and negotiating partner over the long term. Abrupt policy changes demonstrate uncertainty and cause other countries to regard American motives with suspicion. Policy changes are introduced gradually over a long period with minimal disruptions to current conditions in an effort to ease other countries into the new policy position and demonstrate a deliberative effort behind the new policy. Sudden policy changes that occur in the absence of external factors give the appearance of erratic and unstable behavior. Obama’s demand that Israel surrender territory it gained in the 1967 Six-Day War is a stunning reversal of longstanding US policy that weakens our ally and strengthens the Palestinians at the negotiating table. The Palestinians were already resigned to the fact that Israel would never relinquish the Golan Heights as its control is paramount to Israel’s security. Obama’s blundering move just took this hard-won achievement off the table and put it back into play.
All of the arduous policy achievements past administrations have won are in jeopardy as the Palestinians see a US leader willing to sacrifice everything in a futile attempt at appeasement. They must be beside themselves that an American leader would be so inept to not know that appeasement never works. Obama has failed to remember history’s lessons on the failed appeasement of Germany by European leaders in the 1930s. Appeasement is a form of blackmail where the appeased are never satisfied once they know you will sacrifice anything to keep the peace. Where is the exalted Obama intelligence? This episode is one more sorry example of Obama’s stupidity and inexperience on display for the entire world to digest.
Back in 2008 when Obama was campaigning for president, there were those of us who warned that Obama lacked the intelligence and experience to handle the presidency. A fawning press corps brushed aside these concerns and loudly proclaimed Obama to be a genius whose capabilities more than made up for any inexperience. He was too smart to fail, we were told. He didn’t need experience because his intelligence put him beyond that. Well, guess what? It turns out that Obama is really lazy and stupid, hence the need to hide his college transcripts and the fact that he never published an article in the Harvard Law Review despite being its president. The press can argue all it wants, but Obama’s policy blunders are making it increasingly difficult to defend the indefensible. Rookie political mistakes such as arrogantly proclaiming that he won the election while shutting out the opposition, living large on America’s dime while millions of unemployed struggle to survive, apologizing for America to despots around the world, and throwing allies under the bus demonstrate with clarity the buyer’s remorse much of America is suffering under Obama’s administration.