Friday, March 20, 2015

Obama's empty threats to Israel.

Following Netanyahu's election, news outlets like CNN are "reporting" that in a conversation with Netanyahu Obama "warned" that in light of Netanyahu's pre-election statement disavowing a Palestinian state, that Obama would have to "reassess" the U.S. relationship with Israel.

This of course carries as much weight as anything else Obama has ever had to say on anything which as history has shown, is nothing.

The reason the word "reporting" is in quotes is that the content of a private conversation between world leaders only gets "reported" when the White House wants it to and uses the news media like a PR arm. Its for public consumption and is designed to make Obama look tough which as the world has seen in the past is the equivalent of Obama putting his face in the hole of a fun photo He-Man cut out at a mid west state fair. 

Obama in reality is reassessing nothing because there is nothing to reassess. Obama's statement is supposed to make Netanyahu nervous but it's as empty as anything else Obama has ever proclaimed and won't be taken seriously now. Netanyahu cares about one thing -- security and nothing is going to change that. And that includes dismissing another calculated "leak" to the press that Obama is "considering" supporting a UN resolution that supports a two state solution based on pre 1967 borders. Which puts Obama's face back into the photo op  cardboard cut out since, given what happened when the Israelis pulled out of Gaza in 2005, is not now going to be a consideration. 

What has to be remembered is that Obama has no credibility in the middle east and hasn't since before his first election. It was Obama himself who poisoned the well and destroyed his credibilty and  any possibility that he would be able to be perceived as an honest broker between the Israelis and Palestinians in any peace negotiations.   And he managed to do that before he was even elected. And he did it to try and get votes. 

It was in June 2008 when candidate Obama,  aware that Florida could be a swing state in the presidential election and mindful of Florida's substantial Jewish population, gave a speech to AIPAC designed to appeal to that vote that in the end destroyed his credibility forever in the mid east.

Following his usual pattern of saying whatever he thinks he needs to say at any time to anyone to  get what he wants he told the 7,000 Jews attending the conference that he supported a single unified undivided Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.

This gave him what he was looking for -- a standing ovation from the 7,000 American Jews in attendance.

But it also showed that not only was Obama not qualifed to be president,  he was careless, reckless, shallow, and had no grasp of the seriousness of the job he was pursuing. Or what would be expected of him in peace negotiations  if he were elected president. None of that mattered at the time. Getting  votes did. 

For decades the final status of Jerusalem was to be the last issue considered in peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That's why it was called "final status". The reason was obvious. It was the single most contentious issue in the negotiations, more so  than the right of return which is still a non-starter for the Israelis. 

It was always believed by U.S. negotiators that if a deal could be reached on everything else, the sides would be more willing to find a compromise on Jerusalem rather than see everything else go down the drain over that one issue.

Obama's statement while embraced by Israel and American Jews, blew that idea and his own credibility out of the water for the Palestinians.  At the time it essentially yanked the rug out from under their feet before a single negotiation took place under the auspices of a soon to be elected president Obama. At one time, under the arm twisting of Bill Clinton,  Ehud Barak had offered Arafat half of East Jerusalem as the capitol of a Palestinain state in order to finalize a peace deal, something no Israeli prime minister had done before or since.  Arafat rejected it demanding all of East Jerusalem and launched the Infitada,a series of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis. Which is why the Palestinians instead of having their own state have been in the state they're in.  It is not likely any Israeli prime minister will ever offer part of East Jerusalem again but that was still no reason for a presidential candidate to issue a public statement that put an end to Palestinian hopes on Jerusalem or took away a negotiating position.

Within 24 hours of candidate Obama's statement which was treated like the shot heard round the middle east, the Palestinians and other Arab leaders attacked  Obama angrily and relentlessly.

Which led to what has become most typical of Obama and the one thing people can always count on the most. He reneged. 

Within 24 hours of his being attacked by the Palestinians, he did an about face and claimed the world misunderstood him, that they didn't fully comprehend the meaning of his words, that he didn't really mean he supported  a single undivided Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel but that what he really meant  by undivided was that he supported a "Jerusalem with no barbed wire."

The fact that there had been no barbed wire in Jerusalem since 1967 when it was taken by the Israelis in the 1967 war ( whose intent, on behalf of the Palestinians, was to wipe out Israel) Obama's attemp at backtracking was so lame and dishonest, it made " my dog ate my homework" sound believable. There isn't a 3rd grade substitute teacher anywhere who would've taken that explanation seriously from an 8 year old.

The Israeli response to Obama's reneging and his immediate about face  under pressure was also predictable. From that moment on, before he was even elected, Netanyahu would not trust Obama as far as he could throw a nuclear reactor. And the Palestinians didn't trust him either. And with Obama's history of backtracking and concessions on everything from healthcare reform and other domestic policy to his foreign policy failures, from red lines over Assad's use of chemical weapons to the current collapse in Yemen, it  only  re-enforced Netanyahu having no faith in anything that Obama says not the least of which would be his ability to negotiate an effective nuclear deal with Iran.

 In short, as he has proved over and over again, Obama's word on anything is worthless. Whether it's "considering" sending arms to Ukraine, or "reassessing" U.S.-Israeli relations. 

But ironically it could be said that his June 2008 speech and subsequent about face did manage to unite the Israelis and Palestinians on one issue -- their mutual contempt and distrust of him. And its the single biggest reason why Obama has been the most ineffective of any U.S. president in dealing with the middle east peace process, why his relationship with Netanyahu is so strained and why Obama's current PR attempt with his threat to "reassess" the U.S. relationship with Israel  is taken as seriously as  Obama's other  statements (when Obama made his famous "red line" commitment to launch a missile strike against Assad if he used chemical weapons Obama added at the time, " and everyone knows I don't bluff").

According to a "report" in the New York Times, Obama has said he will not "waste his time" managing Israel-US relations and will leave that to Kerry. As if he ever managed them at all. Or had any influence on anyone.  Presumably that  also means Obama will instead continue to waste his and everyone else's time on everything else he has to deal with  whether it's more of his decisive and effective action in stopping  Putin in Ukraine, coming up with new words in dealing with Isis who he once called the "junior varsity", or currently overseeing the evacuation all U.S. personnel from Yemen, the country  he touted not long ago as one of his great anti-terrorism policy successes.

What does give a glimmer of hope is that Obama will no longer waste everyone's time dealing with U.S.- Israeli relations or the peace process as has been the case with everything else  for the previous six years and was the case during in his eleven years of elective office before running for president as a politician  who never had a single legislative accomplishment , even a minor one, in all those eleven years. And it continues to show.

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