Op-ed: American President Obama aims to de-legitimatize Israel, until it gives in.
by Moshe Dann
Why would President Obama place American prestige, money and influence on the line for a three-month restriction on Jewish building in areas conquered by Israel in 1967? Another round of negotiations is doomed to fail, since Palestinian leaders have already refused to resume talks unless the freeze applies to eastern Jerusalem. Why is Obama pushing this snowball, knowing that any substantive agreement is unlikely in such a short time, if at all?
Agreeing to Israeli conditions for a written commitment not to demand further construction halts, a squadron of fighter planes, and blocking Palestinian moves toward statehood at the UN for one year might serve Obama as an excuse for vetoing a Palestinian appeal to the Security Council. But that hardly seems worth the concessions to Israel. And then, what happens after a year?
Accepting US "incentives" (bribes) is humiliating for Israel – putting politics and money before principle. PM Netanyahu promised that the initial freeze was "one-time-only." And, accepting Israeli conditions is degrading for America. Both sides are morally compromised; but, Israel is portrayed as venal and conniving, trying to avoid making peace, while extorting rewards – a typical anti-Jewish stereotype.
Elliott Abrams and Michael Singh wisely observe: "the troubling precedents set by this package will serve to dim rather than enhance prospects for a breakthrough in peace negotiations…The most worrying aspect of Obama's package is the linkages it establishes between Israeli concessions on settlements (and apparently on the pace of construction in Jerusalem as well) and other unrelated policy matters…With this latest gambit, the United States is trying to rescue a policy that is not worth rescuing. "
What if, however, Obama's goal has nothing to do with any "peace process," agreements, or concessions? What if, magician-like, he and his administration are distracting from their hidden agenda: delegitimizing Israel?
In April, Obama suggested that the safety of American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and America's "vital national security interests" were linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; he blamed Israel for the impasse.
Israel is trapped
Obama's strategy to weaken and isolate Israel by forcing concessions is evident in his focus on Israeli settlements as "illegal" and "unacceptable," his extreme protests against any and all Jewish home-building in Judea and Samaria, even Jerusalem, and his direct challenge to Israel to expose its nuclear capability and join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Demanding another "freeze" for 3 months fits the pattern of maligning Israel.
After the moratorium expires, assuming that nothing changes, Israel will again be blamed and vilified for failing to make "concessions for peace," "stealing Palestinian land," and "oppressing Palestinians." Obama can claim that he tried his best; the Palestinians will be given a pass; and Israel will be further ostracized and condemned. Israel is trapped.
If Israel agrees to American conditions and accepts the bribes, she loses her integrity and the advantage she now has – having unilaterally frozen Jewish construction for more than a year without any positive results. If Israel doesn't agree, she will appear unwise and ungrateful, further undermining her position. Obama can again blame Israel for preventing peace, for American inaction against Iran, and its failures in Afghanistan.
Given Israeli and Palestinian demands, and realities, Obama knows that a three-month deal will achieve nothing; the outcome, however, will denote Israel as a pariah state. This is consistent with the process of de-legitimization that has spread throughout the world.
That explains why the US did not object to condemnations of Israel at the UN and in Europe, Obama's "outreach to the Muslim world," and his enmity towards Israel.
Filled with prejudices and distortions of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright, and anti-Israel friends, like Rashid Khalidi, Obama's hostility to Israel, like many European politicians, is aggravated by Israel's resistance to his demands; but, punishing Israel for refusing to agree with him has real consequences which threaten Israel's survival.
Unable to defeat her militarily, Israel's enemies condemn her as immoral, illegal, an outlaw among nations, guilty of apartheid, war criminals, anti-human, even Nazi-like.
Obama's policy failures, therefore, are not just naive mistakes, or impractical; they seem intended to ostracize and weaken Israel until she gives in.
Obama's radical change in American foreign policy towards Israel, his over-reaction to apartment-building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, his deliberate snubs and offensive attitude, serve to demonize Israel, and cripple her standing in the world.
This agenda ignores a simple fact: If this was a territorial dispute, it would have been resolved during the last 63 years. A second/third Arab Palestinian state will not end the conflict, but perpetuate it; and, with the help of Hamas and Hezbollah via Iran, threaten Israel's survival and the stability of the entire region.
Blaming Israel for resisting such a state creates an atmosphere of hatred and contempt. That de-legitimization seems to be exactly what Obama's administration seeks.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -