Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Hard Place

"Remember that before 1967, Israel was all of nine miles wide, half the width of the Washington Beltway. And these were not the boundaries of peace. They were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on Israel was so attractive from them.

"We've gone through expulsion and pogroms and massacres and the murder of millions, but ... even at the nadir of the valley of death, we never lost hope and we never lost our dream of re-establishing a sovereign state in our ancient homeland, the land of Israel.

And now it falls on my shoulders, as the prime minister of Israel at a time of extraordinary instability and uncertainty in the Middle East, to work with you to fashion a peace that will ensure Israel's security and will not jeopardize its survival."
Except that 'working with' President Obama and adhering to his stern advice - not meant to be rejected - to recede to former borders than those from which Israel is enabled to be vigilant, and to hope to be able to bargain with the Palestinian Authority which might very well be, at that point, under the complete aegis of Hamas, survival might very well be impossible to attain.

President Obama might have felt pretty good about issuing his considered opinion and his final statement on the situation, but it is not his country whose future is at stake, it is not his citizens whose survival is being imperilled, it is not he who will have to explain to future generations, should they ask, what went so horribly wrong ... again.

President Obama exceeded both his authority and his moral intelligence. Or he is willfully ill-informed. Failing that excuse, he is simply willing to appear the neutral interlocutor and to seem to do the bidding of those with formidable influence upon his way of thinking - and that is, of course, the 'progressive left', which is where his social conscience resides and always has. And, fact is, there are more Muslim and Arab votes in the U.S. than Jewish ones.

Not a bad place to be under some circumstances in some places, for many reasons, but a formula for disaster in the Middle East. The countries in the Middle East that are now grappling with social unrest, whose rulers are embattled and either forcibly stepping away from power, or forcibly instructing their military to use the power of violence against their own, are fractured by tribal, ethnic, religious and clan antipathies.

They do, however, have one issue in common. And 'they' represent both the ruling class and the violated underdogs, the repressive, dictatorial heads of state and the vastly disgruntled populations at large. Their common enemy is readily identified. They may detest one another and engage in brutal sectarian violence against one another, but there is still a unifying element that draws them to a common conclusion: Israel must go.

In this atmosphere and this background, President Obama has stated that Israel must withdraw and create for herself yet again a more vulnerable geography to defend. The issues of 'right of return', of the fracturing of Jerusalem, of the insistence of Prime Minister Netanyahu that any peace arrangement must include a vigilant Israeli military presence to head off any further, future attacks against Israel, were somehow lost in the shuffle of the discussion.

"I hope he makes the choice, the right choice, of choosing peace with Israel", Benjamin Netanyahu stated, knowing full well that Fatah's choice was to conciliate Hamas and reconcile as a reflection of what most Palestinians demanded. "Not going to happen", he said, addressing the issue of Israel absorbing returning Palestinians and their descendants; he could have been speaking of the right choice; choosing peace with Israel.

"The vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Now, 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel: accept the grandchildren, really, and the great grandchildren of these refugees, thereby wiping out Israel's future as a Jewish state. Everyone knows it's not going to happen. and I think it's time to tell the Palestinians, forthrightly, it's not going to happen."

Any volunteers? Obama...?

Labels: , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet