Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, appeared on Fox News to explain why President Obama’s speech regarding a “return to 1967 borders” would leave Israel at the mercy of the enemies who surround her.
Last month, Dore was part of a team from Israel appearing before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. Here is part of their prepared statement [my emphases — D]:
Israel is entering an extremely dangerous period in the year ahead. It is not facing an imminent military attack, but rather is confronting a new diplomatic assault that could well strip it of the territorial defenses in the West Bank that have provided for its security for over forty years. This applies particularly to its formidable eastern barrier in the Jordan Valley, which, if lost, would leave Israel eight or nine miles wide and in a very precarious position against the threats that are likely to emerge to its east, in the years ahead.
Traditional U.S. policy indeed recognized that Israel is not expected to withdraw from all the territories it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. This was enshrined in the language of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was the basis of successive peace treaties between Israel and the Arab states. This key element of Resolution 242 also appeared in repeated letters of assurance to Israel by U.S. secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to Warren Christopher. In 1988, Secretary of State George Shultz reiterated: “Israel will never negotiate from, or return to the lines of partition or to the 1967 borders.
More recently, the April 14, 2004, presidential letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also spoke explicitly about Israel’s right to “defensible borders” and to the need of it being able to defend itself by itself. The latter point implicitly acknowledged Israel’s doctrine of self-reliance, by which the Israel Defense Forces were to guarantee Israel’s survival and not international troops or even NATO.
Two months later, that letter was confirmed by massive bipartisan majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Significantly, it also ruled out the notion that Israel would be expected to withdraw in the West Bank to the 1967 lines, which were only armistice lines, and not internationally recognized borders.
Here we are, just six weeks out from Israeli officials’ appearance in front of House Committee on Foreign Affairs. And now comes Obama. He steps up to the plate and…smashes
Let’s guess at the President’s motivations, shall we?
For starters, every American president since 1948 wanted (some more than others) to be the True Peacemaker in the Middle East. Each had his own ideas on how to “bring them to the table”. Bill Clinton wanted that Nobel Peace Prize so badly that he laid himself across an unfathomable chasm, as though he could be the bridge history would remember. He still says it was his biggest failure (I’ve got news for you, Bill…)
Obama is no different. He really does think he can talk and talk and talk and somehow make things better. Born to natter on and so sure that the Light Worker will succeed where others have failed.
But while he talks, he bashes his friends in the most unexpected ways (hey, I’m still alarmed at his early behavior toward Britain, displaying manners which conveyed a gob-smacking combination of rude, arrogant, and clueless). This latest speech is stupefying in its implications.
Yesterday, Wretchard analyzed it this way, and it was obvious he was recalling strategy during his own days in the underground against Marcos :
The Bush plan would be to throw Khamenei and Assad to the crowds first. But that appears to be off the table, because he wants to talk to them, so in the Obama variation the alternative appears to be giving only America’s allies in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel, the heave-ho. When it is too hard to ditch your enemies, ditch those who trusted you.
It’s a potential recipe for disaster, not in the least because it can backfire on the president. In a region where losing means winding up on the end of the hangman’s rope, you can bet your bottom dollar that regimes will fight for survival….
…President Obama’s words are not just speeches. They communicate policy. They set wheels in motion, if not in American bureaucracies, then elsewhere in the world where listeners react to them and make plans of their own. They can create a momentum that must either be seen through or lead to bust. He may be gone from office in several years, but the consequences of his words will outlive his term. Will there be a new Middle East, with all its minorities and confessions living in relative harmony? Or will it be bust?
I think the president believes he can achieve a nuanced outcome by taking both sides of history in the Middle East; to preserve U.S. security interests while spreading democracy — all largely achieved by the State Department. Maybe he will succeed. But the worst case scenario is that this will lead to a complete unraveling of the U.S. position in the region coupled with an unwillingness and inability to defend any red line whatsoever. Consider: if Plan A fails, what on earth is Plan B?
W. says “Obama’s words are not just speeches”…but I propose that the entirety of Obama is simply that: “just speeches”. Look how many times he’s back-tracked on his own words, on his own promises and Executive Orders. He is Obama-in-Wonderland, the Red Queen.
In differentiating her (from the Queen of Hearts in his first story), Lewis Carroll says:
…The Red Queen I pictured as a Fury, but of another type; her passion must be cold and calm — she must be formal and strict, yet not unkindly; pedantic to the 10th degree, the concentrated essence of all governesses.
Ah, yes, Obama has a large strain of Nanny blood running through his vision of governance. Nanny Government knows better than you what you need. And the Nanny State Department, headed by Matriarch Clinton, is supposed to make mortal enemies play nice. This isn’t policy; it’s blundering obliviousness. Every time you think, “he can’t get any worse”, he proceeds to rub out those words.
Today, Wretchard is grimly quoting Jennifer Rubin:
Rubin argues that what President Obama did was pre-concede — to all intents and purposes — Israel’s territorial cards while requiring nothing of the Palestinian side.
The right of return therefore should be understood as the extermination of a Jewish state. Berkowitz explains: “The question of refugees, moreover, is much more than, as the president described it in his State Department speech, a ‘wrenching’ issue. Palestinian dedication to a right, with no precedent under international law, inhering in seven million Palestinians to establish residence in the state of Israel has been and remains the overriding obstacle to a secure and lasting peace.”
So what did Obama do? He delinked the right of return and return of territories. Israel’s bargaining power is eliminated because Obama gave it to Abbas despite his stated intention this week to continue war against the Jewish state.
He also explains how Obama’s words have the approval of the Quartet, as noted in Haaretz:
The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — also stood behind the U.S. president’s speech Friday, voicing “strong support” for U.S. Obama’s vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
This Unholy Alliance is out for Israel’s blood. It is literally sickening to read, as though one were returning to the 1930s. But beyond what his “allies” think, in the end Obama does not play well with others, nor do the others give a fig for his future. As Wretchard puts it [my emphases — D]:
Watching his engagement policy verge on becoming road kill in the Middle East, President Obama is confronted by the political necessity of appearing to lead and the practical requirement of recovering influence in the region. He wants to become the towering figure of Cairo 2009 again, when people listened to him. Watching his allies being swept away, he seeks urgently to establish his bona fides with the incoming leaders. The best way to get back his street cred is to buy his way out of the corner at Israel’s expense. But President Obama will get precious little gratitude from the Arab world for throwing Israel under the bus. They will pocket what he offers with a quick flip of the wrist and hold out their hand for more.
Yep. That’s how they play it in the Middle East. If you don’t grok the tribal mentality there — and Obama doesn’t because he’s the quintessential lone wolf — then you’ll likely die of thirst after they drop you off in the trackless desert.
Pastor Manning had it right when he predicted in 2008 what Obama would do to Israel:
One bright moment comes from the New English Review’s Iconoclast which has Representative Allen West’s statement regarding the idea of returning to the 1967 borders. Here is part of what he said (and note that he thinks like a military man in explaining precisely what geography will be in play with Obama’s “1967 borders”):
Today’s endorsement by President Barack Obama of the creation of a Hamas-led Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, signals the most egregious foreign policy decision his administration has made to date, and could be the beginning of the end as we know it for the Jewish state.
From the moment the modern day state of Israel declared statehood in 1948, to the end of the 1967 Six Day War, Jews were forbidden access to their holiest site, the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, controlled by Jordan’s Arab army.
The pre-1967 borders endorsed by President Obama would deny millions of the world’s Jews access to their holiest site and force Israel to return the strategically important Golan Heights to Syria, a known state-sponsor of terrorism.
Resorting to the pre-1967 borders would mean a full withdrawal by the Israelis from the West Bank and the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Make no mistake, there has always been a Nation of Israel and Jerusalem has been and must always be recognized as its rightful capital.
In short, the Hamas-run Palestinian state envisioned by President Obama would be devastating to Israel and the world’s 13.3 million Jews. It would be a Pavlovian style reward to a declared Islamic terrorist organization, and an unacceptable policy initiative.
America should never negotiate with the Palestinian Authority- which has aligned itself with Hamas. Palestine is a region, not a people or a modern state. Based upon Roman Emperor Hadrian’s declaration in 135 CE, the original Palestinian people are the Jewish people.
Congressman West poses several questions for President Obama in his statement. They are the same questions many of us are asking. Want to bet on the likelihood of the Hon. West — or the rest of us — receiving any answers in our lifetime? He finishes his statement with this:
The President should focus on the real obstacle to security- the Palestinian leadership and its ultimate goal to eliminate Israel and the Jewish people.
Be sure to see read the whole statement and watch the video at NER of West’s speech about Israel back in December 2010.
Another hopeful piece — and there are very few on the board right now — is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response:
“Peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle East reality,” an unsmiling Netanyahu said as Obama listened intently beside him in the Oval Office.
I just noticed something about this report: it features a black President, a black Congressman, a black pastor, and an expatriate Filipino living in Oz with a cameo part played by Israel’s PM. Hmmm…obviously a conspiracy is afoot. Or a hand…maybe the Black Hand? Stay tuned…
Hat tip for the Fox video:Vlad Tepes
Hat tip for Pastor Manning’s video: M. Simon
Hat tip for Netanyahu: JD