Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obama's Mideast Non-summit at the UN

After a lot of arm-twisting, Barack Obama was able to get Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Bibi Netanyahu together in a room as a sidebar to Obama's blather about what he considers the number one threat to international order.

Ummm, that would be the lack of international accords on global warming, not Iran's nuclear program.

This is the first time Abbas and Netanyahu have met since last December, when Abbas broke off negotiations with Israel after the Israelis went into Gaza to stop the rockets coming into Israel during Operation Cast Lead. Barack Obama devoted a lot of arm twisting and cajoling to get what the WAPO accurately referred to as little more than a photo-op:

Mr. Obama had wanted to announce agreement on the opening of talks on the creation of a Palestinian state, with a deadline of two years. He wanted to outline agreements on how those negotiations would proceed and some of the principles that would underpin them. And he expected to reveal a series of opening confidence-building measures by the two sides, including a freeze on Israeli settlement construction and steps toward normalization by several Arab states.

What Mr. Obama oversaw, instead, was little more than a photo opportunity with the two leaders -- who continue to disagree with each other and with the Obama administration over the terms of the talks. But the gap between their initial hopes for the U.N. meeting and what occurred is revealing about the difficulties Mr. Obama's diplomacy is encountering -- and the miscalculations the president and his team have made.

The failure of any breakthrough is hardly surprising, although the WAPO only skirts around the details.

The Palestinian's idea of negotiating has been to keep reiterating their demands like one of those retarded avant-garde tape loops. They keep repeating that they'll take nothing less than a completely Jew-free Judea and Samaria ( AKA the West Bank)and all of East Jerusalem turned over to them, plus the right to flood what left of Israel with genocidal 'refugees'. None of that is subject to change in the slightest of course, and both the Palestinians and the members of the Arab League have said so many times.

Since this essentially represents national suicide for the Israelis and they have very little reason to trust Fatah or Arab goodwill at this point,(Oslo and Gaza pretty much soured the Jews on any fairy tales about Land for Peace) there hasn't been a lot of movement from the Israeli side except to say they're willing to talk any time without preconditions...which of course Fatah isn't willing to consider. The minimum for Fatah and Abbas to even talk about the mechanics of the Israelis fulfilling all their demands is a complete halt to any building of homes, schools or infrastructure for Jewish communities in the areas the Palestinians expect to be turned over to them.

Since that would be a de facto recognition of the Palestinian's claim to these areas, Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu hasn't been interested, even under major pressure from Obama. Aside from the fact that no one enjoys being bullied, the idea of re-dividing Jerusalem and putting Judaism's holiest sites under Arab control is a red line even secular, left-leaning Israelis refuse to cross since they have clear memories of what that was like.

Even the Washington Post realized what a mistake Obama made here:

In fact settlements are no longer a strategic obstacle to peace; as a practical matter, most of the construction is in areas that will not be part of a Palestinian state. The administration's inflexible stance, unwisely spelled out in public by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, led to an unwinnable confrontation with Mr. Netanyahu, turned Israeli public opinion against Mr. Obama and prompted Palestinians to harden their own position.

Aside from the fact that the WAPO still believes that the Palestinians are willing to compromise on their demands, that's a pretty fair assessment.

Today's meeting was apparently unintentionally humorous,if you believe the left-leaning Israeli paper Ha'aretz.

According to them, Obama threw a bit of a tantrum in front of both player, yelling that he wanted talks started and everything settled now, now, now, dammit!

If that is what in fact happened, Obama is simply kidding himself. There's very little reason for either party to take him seriously at this point, and he has only his own inept behavior to blame.

It started, really, when Obama spoke In Cairo. He made the usual pro forma remarks about US ties to Israel, but he accepted the Arab positions in almost every other respect, including the fallacious Arab narrative that the Jews got foisted on the Middle East only because of the Holocaust and that the Palestinian nakba was the equivalent of what the Jews endured.

After all that, the Arabs expected Obama to deliver. And why not? Based on what he was saying,why wouldn't the US should take the side of the Arabs in this conflict, cut off all aid and ties to Israel and even intervene on the Arab's behalf to correct this injustice?

Since the Arabs don't understand what democracy is or how Congress works in America, they couldn't be expected to realize that while Obama could (and did) take certain hostile steps towards Israel, a lot of the US Congress not to mention the American people wouldn't go along with a total rupture of ties. The Arabs didn't see why Obama wasn't free to unilaterally destroy the US-Israel relationship overnight, however much he might want to ideologically.

On the other side of the conflict, Obama foolishly assumed that the Israelis were basically just like the Leftist American Jews in his immediate circle, and that they were susceptible to being pressured to knuckle under. Obama's attempt to tell Jews where they could build homes and schools was seen as an embrace of the Arab cause by both sides. To the Israelis, it was especially pernicious when Obama reneged on the Bush Administration's agreement with former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria(AKA the West Bank) that were supposed to remain part of Israel in any settlement, and then turned up the heat by insisting that Jews were not entitled to build anything in the so-called settlements, including Jerusalem.

In consequence, the Palestinians increased both their intransigence and their demands, figuring that Obama was going to be able to force the hated Jews to knuckle under. When that didn't happen, Obama became viewed by both sides as spineless and not to be trusted.

That applies to Obama's non-policy on Iran as well. While the Palestinians, especially Hamas might welcome a nuclear Iran, to the Israelis and to Sunni Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of the Mullahs is a lot more important than anything to do with the Palestinians. Obama's focus on the Palestinian conflict instead of Iran is seen by both parties as a serious error and a sign of weakness and amateurism.

Iran and its terrorist proxies continue to be the real threat to Middle East peace. And one that Obama seems to have no intention whatsoever of confronting.

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