Obama speech solves nothing in Middle East
The long-awaited Obama speech will do nothing but throw billions of US taxpayer dollars at the Middle East and make war even more likely.
The Obama Speech
- A salute to the “Arab spring” of popular uprisings in various countries. The Obama speech does not mention that many participants are militant Muslims.
- A pledge of billions of dollars in grants, loans, and bad debt write-offs to Egypt and Tunisia.
- Israel must return to pre-1967 borders, with “mutually agreed swaps.” Existing Jewish settlements would stand in the West Bank, but Israel would cede land west of the 1949 armistice line to make up for it.
That last statement goes back on decades of US policy since the 1967 cease-fire. Furthermore, Obama said that Palestine should be contiguous, but did not say that Israel should be. Either Israel or Palestine can be contiguous, but not both, if “Palestine” includes both the West Bank and Gaza.
The Obama speech has another problem. The 1967 borders would divide Jerusalem once again. Israel would surrender the Old City and many sites holy to Judaism and Christianity. These include the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Garden Tomb.
The Obama speech chided Hamas, the radical group that controls Gaza. Hamas still will not recognize Israel. Obama advised the new Hamas-Fatah government not to demand that the United Nations admit it as a State this September.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at once that Israel would never accept the 1967 borders. The Tzahal could not defend them, and some settlements would stay outside of Israel. Netanyahu is flying to Washington now to meet with Obama tomorrow and address a joint session of Congress.
The Obama speech made few friends, even among Arabs. Many noted that Obama mentioned Libya, Tunisia, Syria, and Bahrain, but not Saudi Arabia. The Palestinians made no answer.
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Before Obama made his speech, Human Events expert Chuck DeVore published his 22-page analysis of Arab-Israeli relations. He called it The Next Middle-East War. According to DeVore, Hamas and Hezbollah might blockade the Israeli ports of Haifa and Ashdod in the middle of August. (They would use Iranian anti-ship missiles, and fire them from populated areas.) Israel could break the blockade within thirty days. But by then, the UN will meet, Egypt will hold parliamentary elections, and both events will turn out to Palestinian, and Muslim, advantage. DeVore points out that Hamas is the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. The likely result will be a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt and an enhanced UN status for Palestine.
The Obama speech tries to bribe the Arabs to keep peace with Israel. But it asks Israel to give up a lot of land with no real guarantee of peace. Jewish and conservative groups know this and reacted in anger. Pat Caddel, former adviser to President Jimmy Carter, said today that Jewish groups have found Obama openly hostile to Israel throughout his term. (Among other things, he treated Netanyahu rudely the last time Netanyahu came to see him.) Caddel cannot explain the Obama speech, unless Obama thinks that his Jewish friends will never walk away from him. Caddel is not so sure.
In addition, a taxpayer activist said that America cannot afford either the grants and loans or the bad debt write-off Obama promised Egypt.
Fox News host Glenn Beck also decried the Obama speech, saying that Obama “betrayed our last firm ally in the Middle East.”
Today, the Middle East Media Research Institute released this report showing that Hamas is still as hostile to Jews as ever. In the face of the Obama speech calling for people in the region not to hate each other, a former Hamas minister of culture called the Jews “the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the earth.” Hamas TV also carried programs extolling female suicide bombers.
Glenn Beck will host a rally, called “Restoring Courage,” in Jerusalem this August. If DeVore’s report is correct, Beck might not be able to hold it, or else get caught in a war zone.
Featured image: the Western Wall, Old City, Jerusalem. Credit: CNAV.