Israeli Right: Obama Undermined Netanyahu, Endangers Israel with Call for Palestinian State

President Obama’s speech to students in Jerusalem is covered by Aljazeera. Obama did complain a little about the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians, but he threw in the towel on trying to halt the vast and daily landgrab of Israeli colonizers on Palestinian territory. He postponed the issue to final status negotiations, over which he obviously does not intend to preside. In other words, Obama in Jerusalem adopted the Romney Plan for the Mideast: ” “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem… and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

Even Obama’s relatively mild complaint that the Palestinians, are being kept stateless provoked rage on the Israeli right, despite his having given in to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the issue of a halt to settlements. Although they were angry and defiant, they did often acknowledge that Obama is personally warm toward Israel and that he was no longer pressuring it to stop the settlements.

The US media seldom reports on the internal politics of other countries, and likely won’t convey to us the reaction of the ruling Israeli Likud Party to Obama’s speech. But the USG Open Source Center translated some reactions from Likud members of parliament and from settler leaders, who are colonizing the Palestinian West Bank. These Israelis warned of the destructive character of Obama’s agenda in Israel and vowed to fight any implementation of his suggestions.

“MK Regev: Speech Urged To Exert ‘Pressure’ on Netanyahu Leadership

Walla! at 1545 GMT carries the reaction of Likud MK [Member of Parliament] Miri Regev: “Obama’s visit is in fact the speech at the International Convention Center, not the receptions, not the meeting with Netanyahu and not the press conferences. Obama called here for public pressure against Netanyahu’s leadership.”

MK Shaqed: Judea and Samaria ‘Our Iron Dome’

Moran Azulay reports in Ynet at 1701 GMT on Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaqed’s reaction: “Obama is a true friend of Israel, this cannot be refuted. But at the end of the day, we will have to bear the tragic and destructive results of the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is the reason why the Israeli people chose a government that does not support the notion of a two-state solution. Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] are our Iron Dome.”

Settler Leaders: Speech Tried To Create ‘Illusion’

Josh Briner reports in leading news website Walla! in Hebrew at 1714 GMT on the statement issued by the Yesha Settlement Council: “President Obama’s speech was warm and embracing, but at the same time he tried to create an illusion of public support for developments that are dangerous to Israel. We believe this is the reason no students from Ari’el University [on the West Bank] were invited. Israelis have experience with illusions that blew up in our face, and will not support the dangerous offers of Obama. The Israeli public makes its political choices in a democratic way by voting in elections, and not by urging the country’s young to oppose its leadership.”

Moran Azulay reports in centrist news site Ynetnews in English at 1749 GMT: “Naftali Bennett, the newly appointed economy and trade minister and a member of the Political-Security Cabinet, was the first senior politician to respond to US President Barack Obama’s speech in Jerusalem. ‘The results of our latest pullout were felt this morning in Sederot and by the thousands of victims born during the last few years,’ Bennett said Thursday in reference to the rocket attack from Gaza on the Israeli border town.’ . . . Bennett said, challenging the wide acceptance of the two-state solution … ‘Generally,’ the new minister added, ‘there is no occupation within one’s own land.’…

MK Yishay: ‘Concerned’ By What Obama Didn’t Say

Kobi Nahshoni reports on Ynetnews at 1901 GMT that Shas MK Eli Yishay told Ynet: “It was a good speech, but clearly there are no free lunches, and now he will probably demand that Netanyahu take active steps towards peace. After feeling that he prefers the Palestinians to us, he has really imparted great warmth and love on Israel. However, this does not mean that there are no strings attached. I am content with what Obama said, but more than that — I am concerned with what has yet to be said.”

Jerusalem Mayor: Big Change in Obama’s Approach

Ya’ir Altman reports in Walla! at 1638 GMT the reaction of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barqat: “I think there is a big change in the US President’s approach. Up until now he pushed us aggressively, but today we heard a speech of a friend who shares his views with us and gives us his unconditional support.”

“Too Good To Be True” by Shalom Yerushalmi, published on page 2 of Ma’ariv, says … “. . . we should make no mistake: There are no free gifts and no gestures without interests. Obama made two high jumps here. He spoke to the Israeli public over the government’s head. He went to the US Congress over the Israeli public’s head. He used feel-good diplomacy on the Israelis. We are not coming to coerce you as we had in the past, he announced. We are coming to learn, to understand, but you should know that an arrangement with the Palestinians is in your interest and in the interest of the Jewish people. … This morning, Obama will go to Ramallah to meet with Abu-Mazin. At one point, peace with the Palestinians burned in his bones. The great fights with Netanyahu focused on that. This time Obama came to Israel without a prepared foreign policy plan, and also without making a ‘big announcement,’ as he admitted. Is this a new approach that is uncharacteristic of the administration, one that attests to the failure of the previous initiatives? Did the energetic secretary of state, John Kerry, come here in advance just to waste time, like most of his predecessors? Or is this a different tactic, in which someone has smeared honey on plastic spoons that will one day return to being sharp knives? After all, this all seems too good to be true.” (Tel Aviv Ma’ariv in Hebrew — Independent, centrist, third-largest circulation Hebrew-language daily)

Last week before Obama arrived there was this item:

Rabbinical Congress Urges Telling Obama Palestinian State To ‘Never Be Established’ — Arutz Sheva reports on 8 March: ” The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP), comprised of over 350 prominent rabbis in Israel from religious Zionist, Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and Chabad sectors, Torah leaders of the past and present, has sent a very sharp letter to the heads of the political parties in Israel as they are negotiating on forming a new government, criticizing them for completely ignoring the danger hovering over the millions of residents in Israel as a result of the two-state solution. ‘Is this a time to argue over jobs and portfolios or who will blink first while the ominous threat of a Palestinian state is in the making? If such a state will be established, terrorism will soar and millions of people will be in danger. Instead of finding ways to stop the madness of the so-called two-state solution party leaders are now engaged in power and ego struggles,’ the RCP letter read.” “In their letter, the rabbis called upon all parties to receive President Barack Obama with a clear declaration that a Palestinian Arab state will never be established on Israeli land and to ensure Israel’s security by preserving its borders. Only this will ultimately bring peace to the region.”

32 Responses

  1. Obama said two things during his visit:

    1. To the Israelis – Please be so kind to accept the Palestinians as your neighbors-to-be. But if you choose to rather continue occupying and oppressing them, we fully understand and will continue to give you all the support you need to continue doing so.

    2. To the Palestinians – Oh, isn’t hope a most wonderful thing? Who knows, in 5 000 years’ time you may have a little village all your own! In the meantime, please consider helping the peace process forward by disappearing into the sea.

  2. Clearly some Israeli hardliners believe that offense is the best form of defense. Instead of acknowledging that President Obama’s visit to Israel and Palestine did not achieve anything for the Palestinians, on the contrary, he stressed that Israel would be a Jewish state, he did not condemn the illegal settlements, did not call on Israeli officials to dismantle them, spoke of Palestine as the historic homeland of the Jews without mentioning the Palestinians who have lived there continuously for thousands of years, nevertheless, they have attacked him for some general comments to some Israeli students about the benefits of peace.

    However, I believe that instead of attacking him they should carefully read what he said in that speech. He told the new generation of the Israelis that “First, peace is necessary… Second, peace is just… Third, peace is possible.” But perhaps the most important part of his speech was when he referred to the changes in the Arab world. The Israelis are no longer facing a few Arab dictators who can be told by the West what they should do. They are faced with millions of young Arab men and women who like them want to live in peace and security. The time for the tired old men with fixed ideas from the two sides fighting has come to an end. The time has come for both Israeli and Arab young people to talk to each other and forge new peaceful relations.

    However, I believe that instead of attacking him they should carefully read what he said in that speech. He told the new generation of Israelis that “First, peace is necessary… Second, peace is just… Third, peace is possible.” But perhaps the most important part of his speech was when he referred to the changes in the Arab world. The Israelis are no longer facing a few Arab dictators who can be told by the West what they should do. They are faced with millions of young Arab men and women who like them want to live in peace and security. The time for the tired old men with fixed ideas from the two sides fighting has come to an end. The time has come for both Israeli and Arab young people to talk to each other and forge new peaceful relations.

  3. They don’t want a two state solution, neither should we! The policy of the US toward Israel should be to help them transition to a country of equal rights! We will not need to argue over borders, water rights, or any of those impossibly contentious issues. All problems get collapsed into one. Let us focus on that one issue, equal rights.

    • This just cannot happen, with the present government being probably the worst ever, and the settlers gaining more and ore power and land. Seeing the treatment of Palestinians now by the “chosen ones”, living harmoniously just will not be possible. Israeli education does not allow acceptance of “Arabs” or any non Jjews as real humans.

  4. History seems to have forgotten that Winston Churchill foresaw the deadly standoff between Israeli’s and Palestinians as far back as the 1920s when he urged that the Balfour declaration include a requirement for a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state. His reasoning was pragmatic, at the time: Arabs helped Britain against Germany in World War I and he felt England owed them something. But Churchill was opposed by the Foreign Office and by the British Cabinet, and the call never survived to the final draft.

    Beyond feeling that Britain owed a debt to Arabs, he also saw the likelihood of a conflict with the Jews if the question of a Palestinian state were not resolved up-front.

    Now we are paying the price.

    As an American Jew, I’ve regrettably come to wash my hands of Israel and have even less use for its soulless cheerleaders in Washington. To inflict on Palestinians the same sort of unconscionable repression as has been wreaked on Jews for centuries is reprehensible and inexcusable. Have we learned nothing from our own experience? Have we no understanding of how history will judge Israel’s behavior?

    The right wing nutjobs in Israel are as misguided and self-deceiving as the right wing nutjobs in the US. They are acting worse than the Taliban and should be ashamed.

    • Down a thread, Bill offered a piece of the original Harry Truman recognition of the self-declared Israeli nation (how come they can do it and not the Palestinians?), which like a lot of Great Game text, warrants a careful reading:

      “This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de-facto government of the new state of Israel.”

      Signed: Harry S. Truman
      Approved: May 14, 1948

      Harry does NOT say “Israel is recognized as a Jewish state.” He notes that “a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine.” He then adds that the self-proclaimed Provisional New Rulers are the “de-facto government,” but says not a (to use a word he used a lot) DAMN thing about it being a “Jewish state.” And of course history shows how friendly the US was to the establishment of that provisional self-declared state, after the various approaches and inactions “it” took toward Jews and Gypsies and all those non-white-boy “others” in Europe in earlier times…

      Of course, for present purposes, as is usual with the mealy-mouthisms of “diplomatic speech” and the Faery Castles that violent, greedy, self-aggrandizing folks want to build on those careful ambiguities, one can sort of squint and see whatever one wants to in the bare text… And let us never forget that “we who were giving a reactor to the Shahahaha cannot tolerate even the scintilla of the possibility of the thought of an ‘Iranian’ nuclear weapon or latency or what-ever,” having had some of us connive at making Dimona possible so that there are now (snigger) maybe 20-score nuclear warheads under the control of the Right Wing Loonies whose models and buddies in South Africa could not quite manage the same feat, now have to tread very lightly and Feed the Beast for fear of it eating us…

      Reee-alpolitik: you gotta love it, that sum of all the infinite crafty fearful murderous grasping invisible destructive behaviors, now coming up on the part where “protecting access to resources” leads to the final demolition of the myth of “democracy,” the dyspeptic dream of “freedom’n’liberty ™,” and of course the heat death of the habitable planet…

      • “Harry does NOT say “Israel is recognized as a Jewish state.” He notes that “a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine.” He then adds that the self-proclaimed Provisional New Rulers are the “de-facto government,” but says not a (to use a word he used a lot) DAMN thing about it being a “Jewish state.”

        Only the most obtuse reader of the executive order would be unable to link the “Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine” with the “provisional government of the “new state of Israel.”

    • Obama is a second-term president who can embark on whatever agenda he wants without fear of retribution by any segment of voters or the Israel Lobby – although the Democratic Party may be held accountable.

      Looks like he will place Israel-Palestine issues on the proverbial back burner. China-U.S. relations – especially trade matters – will be the focus of his foreign policy.

  5. Amazing the chutzpah of Yerushalmi to claim that Obama “went to the US Congress over the Israeli public’s head.”

    Is the Israeli public is entitled to have some sway over how the US president relates to the US Congress?

  6. We love to use the term “brutal dictator” to describe those autocratic leaders that impinge on US interests. Couldn’t the term be a viable epithet for the aggregate Israeli treatment of the Palestinians?

    As you say, Obama is going with the Romney plan, which is hardly shocking given his reluctance to ever swim upstream. But if the current situation is accepted by the US as the status quo, we should at least drop the descriptive term “Middle East Peace”, and simply replace it with “Israeli Occupation”.

  7. “He went to the US Congress over the Israeli public’s head.” (“Shalom” Yerushalmi)

    Oh, the perfidy! The outrage! That the President of the United States would presume that HE would have any right to go to Israel’s own US Congress! Frankly, this says it all. There’s no need to read further and try to figure out why anyone would put honey on a plastic spoons so they could turned it into knives…

  8. It is the nature of the fanatics who dominate both sides of the issue to refuse to acknowledge anything positive from the United States that comes up short of 100% agreement with the most hard-line position, and even then, to lash out with full-bore condemnation about the improper pronunciation of Shibboleth.

      • Are you kidding? For you to even ask that question shows a rather myopic view of the ME Hmmmm, we can start with the dead-enders who shot rockets into Israe a few hours before Obama came – what purpose did it serve? Or the ones who took Sharon’s bait in 2000 to start the 2nd infatada – what purpose did it serve? Fanatics abound in the US, too Denying that Paestinians have their share of fanatics is patronizing and says they shoud be judged by an inferior standard

        • What purpose did the Second Intifada serve?

          After 1,000 Israelis died and thousands of others wounded, Israel’s economy – especially its tourism base – seriously damaged, PM Sharon decided to unilaterally disengage from Gaza – he dropped his demand that Hamas disarm as a precondition. The Gush Katif Jewish settlement network in Gaza was dismantled at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

          In the West Bank, Sharon released about 700 Arab prisoners.

          In return, the Second Intifada ended.

      • “who are the fanatics on the Palestinian side?”

        For starters, those leaders of Hamas who refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and who fire rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian targets.

        • Israel has no “right to exist”.

          If you believe it does tell us where it comes from.

          The 1947 U.N. Resolution partitioning Palestine was by the General Assembly only and non-binding.

          What about the rights of Palestinians in Lydda, Deir Yassin, and countless other Arab villages who had their homes and properties confiscated at gunpoint without compensation? Some to this day display the keys to their houses.

          It is their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who inhabit the refugee camps of Gaza and some fire rockets into Israel.

        • Bill, No country, not the US, not the UK, not China, not Israel, not any country, has a “right to exist.”

          political groupings of humans (we often use the term country) simply exist until they do not.

          While mankind has pretty much agreed INDIVIDUAL HUMANS have a “right to exist” there is no such right for groupings of humans.

          If some humans want the entity called Israel to exist, then they had better figure out how to get along with the people that live in the same neighborhood. If Israeli can not figure out how to live by the neighborhood rules, the last 10,000 years of history shows that the neighbors will eventually make them leave no matter how much Israelis think they have some “right” to be there.

          This is the hard reality that all the rhetoric tries to obscure, “might makes right” ALWAYS FAILS eventually. A bunch of Europeans invaded the ME during and after WW2 against the wishes of the natives and they are now paying the price for the arrogance of that invasion. You can try to cloak that invasion in all sorts of fancy language about “rights” but in the end it was just brute force and eventually in the flow of history such moves usually get reversed.

      • Rosemerry, you just gotta love the principle (and maybe that’s not the best descriptor, given the motivations) of “false equivalence…”

      • Fanatics on the Palestinian side would not include Fatah, and I would likely not lump in Hamas with the “fanatics”.

        Many Gazans were upset that Hamas discontinued bus bombings after the IDF withdrawal in 2005. This was a “reward” for Israel’s withdrawal. Gazans cheered last November when a bus bombing was carried out in Tel Aviv.

        Islamic Jihad in Palestine is closely allied with Iran and has the goal of destroying Israel through armed struggle. They have carried out some of the most brutal acts of terrorism against Israel – including the highly-publicized murder of Tali Hatuel, a Jewish settler, and her children in Gush Katif in 2004.

        In Gaza, there have been al-Qaeda linked groups that have carried out kidnappings and have targeted Hamas leaders for assassination. There have also been Arab clans within Gaza and other splinter groups that are extremists who have committed acts of terror. During Operation cast Lead it was these groups who took heavy casualties fighting the IDF; Hamas avoided most fighting and emerged from the conflict relatively intact as an organization.

        Israel’s heavy-handed tactics have engendered popular support in Gaza for the most extreme elements.

        • “Fanatics on the Palestinian side would not include Fatah, and I would likely not lump in Hamas with the “fanatics”.”

          You are admitting, then, that according to your lights, the Hamas charter calling for the destruction of Israel, and the firing of rockets by Hamas, targeted indiscriminately against Israeli civilians, is the work of moderates. Strange indeed….

  9. So much for Obama ever getting tough, speaking the truth, or for even putting American ideals and best interests ahead of the Israeli lobby and the ‘evangelical threat’. It just isn’t in him, which is what a few prescient people were warning before he was elected. I would have thought that Obama was smart enough to figure out by now that his middle of the road strategy was not pleasing anybody, and in fact alienating most, but I guess not. I could not imagine that it was possible to have a Democrat president analog to the ineptitude of George Bush, but given the challenges the nation now faces it seems there’s a pretty good chance.

  10. So Obama calls for two separate states, living in peace and in security together. How very nice. The Israelis should be gushing all over Obama for proposing more of the same. Were he serious about Palestinian “peace” and “security” he would call for sanctions on the Israelies for unashamedly expanding their settlements further into the West Bank, stealing more and more land. Breaking international law.

    Look at any map of today’s West Bank. The settlements make it appear like a Swiss cheese. If Obama went to the UN to ask for sanctions would he receive them? Of course. Overwhelmingly. But here in the U.S. the fiction lives on.

  11. “Judea and Samarra”

    Help me out with my geography: are they closer to Dacia, or to Medea?

    Anyone who denies the Subarians’ right to the lower Eurphrates is a vile Sumerian apologist!

  12. Regarding “stateless” Palestinians:

    The Knesset Central Elections Committee has – via its right-wing extremist members – attempted to erase Arab presence in the Knesset.

    In 2009, the committee voted to disqualify the Arab List political party ticket from running in the Knesset elections by equating their criticism of Israel with being subversive conduct – however the Israeli Supreme Court reversed that edict by a 9-1 margin.

    In the last Knesset election, MK Haneen Zoabi, an Arab from Nazareth, was disqualified by that committee by holding that she encouraged terrorism and refused to acknowledge Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. The Israel Supreme Court unanimously overturned the committee ruling and Ms. Zoabi was seated.

    Currently, the Knesset is considering a vote that would bar the Israel Supreme Court from judicial review of its decisions – it is being hailed as the future “Zoabi Law”. There is no constitution in Israel and hence, no immutable right to judicial review of legislative decisions. The “Basic Law” governs the organization and operation of the Israeli government and is, in a general sense, subject to amendment by the Knesset.

    The Israeli far right is clearly overreaching in its attempts to remove Palestinian representation in the Knesset. However, if judicial review of such committee decisions occurs, we may stop seeing Arab representation in the Knesset.

  13. Why doesn’t he just tell Netanyahu that there will be no more money until the settlements stop? The power/money is with Obama.

  14. Obama said something interesting speaking to students in Jerusalem: (approximately quoting). “No politician is going to break out in front on issues if he is not pushed by voters to do so.”

    Obama is a politician, and he is telling these Israeli students that he plans to do nothing on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

    I have often thought that Jimmy Carter lost reelection because of his courage, and that Obama won reelection because of his cowardice.

    • Excellent point, he is indeed a politician though and through.
      His speech although eloquent carries a certain hollowness that has become his trade mark. President Obama has no initiatives to put forward in the last four years and nothing he has said in his Jeruselam speech points to a clear cut plan or agenda.
      During his tenure in office the settlement constructions went smoothly, new plans to build more than 1500 housing units were announced shortly after Hillary Clinton visited in late November, with thousands more in December, and Israel struck Biden with a declaration for 1600 more housing units just as he steps out of the plane in his last visit!!!!
      Israel eventually withheld the PA’s money from taxes and manipulated the US to hold any aid money as well, with no reactions from Washington, there was no pressure- help to release the P.A’s tax money held hostage by Israel. The atrocities and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians has been taking place without any objections from Obama administration following the “no objection policy” of Clinton & Bush era.
      Talking about 2 State solution, that myth, that delusion sold to the gullible and uninformed American public despite the fact that this President has not lifted a finger in that regard.
      Announcing that the East Jerusalem is capital of Israel at the DNC in November 2012, was a kiss of death to the idea of 2 State solution in the eyes of anyone who has ever bothered to learn about terms and conditions of the peace process.
      US vetoing the recognition of the Palestinian Statehood at the UN last year, goes against the the whole notion of the peace talk and idea of the 2 STATE Solution!!!!
      For crying out loud if US is not prepared to even recognize the statehood of Palestine as a UN member how could Obama could go around selling that myth of the 2 States Delusion!!!!!
      How gullible and out of touch we Americans must be to believe in that.
      Talk is cheap, actions are none existence and he is no different than his predecessors.

  15. Anyone wanting a look into the kinds of thought processes that lie (using that word advisedly) behind various expressions of the kinds of behavior in play in Palestisrael (or Israpalestine, take your pick or make up your own portmanteau) could do worse than read this little apologium:

    link to boervolkradio.co.za

    And for the propagandists among us who work to manage the language and thus control the terms of all debate, there’s lots of useful models in this little piece:

    link to web.archive.org

    And we should remember the lessons of the life of P.W. Botha, who masterminded the takeover of the South African government by his particular brand of social policy and politics, that are sort of reminiscent of other more current manifestations:

    link to web.archive.org

    Good luck to people of good will and real faith who have any hope of something better for our fascinating species…

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