As popular discontent and violent government reprisals set the Middle East aflame, the U.S. continues to whine about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
Dear Friend of Israel, Friend of FLAME:
Protests and murderous government retaliation continue to roil Syria. Demonstrators finally force Yemen's president to step down. In agonizing throes of violence, Gadaffi hangs on in Libya. Christians are attacked by Islamist extremists in Egypt as the police watch on. Hamas shoots more rockets into civilian centers in Israel.
And what is the United States doing? Hillary
Why? Because the Obama administration seems to have no coherent Middle East policy in the face of today's popular unrest. Because the Palestinians are threatening to have themselves declared a state by the United Nations in September, and the U.S. would rather not have to veto that effort. Most importantly, the administration continues to believe that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to Middle East peace.
Indeed, for decades, countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have insisted that their agitated populace would be pacified once the burr of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were removed from their saddles, and countless pundits and politicians have bought into that myth.
Yet today it's clear that unrest in the Middle East has zero to do with Israel. In fact, despite Palestinians living under unapologetically undemocratic political organizations---the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza---the Palestinians actually have a higher standard of living than most of their Arab neighbors.
In addition, those in the West Bank, even with the current modest Israeli military presence, live under greater freedom than most of their fellow Arabs. The problem in other Arab lands, of course, is the repression imposed on Arab peoples by their dictatorial leaders---the same leaders who have complained so loudly and so long about Israeli "oppression."
Because the West has for so long indulged in this false connection between Israeli-Palestinian peace and a greater Middle East peace, we have only succeeded in supporting some of the worst dictators---Arabs all----on the planet.
In fact, the U.S.'s urgency to push Israel and the Palestinians into peace negotiations is false. Above all, the Palestinians do not want peace talks. Hamas still openly wants to destroy Israel militarily. On its side, the PA will not abandon its insistence on the right of return of millions of relatives of Arab refugees to Israel---which would essentially destroy the Jewish state and which they know Israel will never accept. No wonder the PA is attempting an end run for statehood in the United Nations.
This week's FLAME Hotline, by commentator Lawrence W. White, presses the question: Given the current realities, why the big deal about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks? His answers are logical, factual, clear-eyed and compelling.
Please take five minutes to review Dr. White's concise analysis. Then do a small favor for Israel today: If you have friends or colleagues who may appreciate a short, tight argument for withdrawing pressure on Israel to make even more concessions for peace, please forward this brief article to them. By helping to spread the facts on this issue, we help Israel overcome the treacherous diplomatic obstacles President Obama insists on throwing in front of her.
Above all, please remember: We are on the front lines in the PR war to protect Israel. Every time you share the truth or correct a misconception, you're helping our cause. Thanks for your support of Israel and your support of FLAME.
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Settlement; Why the Big Deal?
Let us stipulate two facts;
There is but a single nation that is a democracy in the Middle East; that nation is Israel
There is but a single nation that can be relied on to be consistently pro-Western in the Middle East; that nation is Israel
So why the need for President Obama to put pressure on Israel to freeze the building of new homes?, And why the need for our President to force Israel to make "peace" with the Palestinians, a peace that will only be a way-station on the road to another terrorist state in that part of the world, a peace that the Palestinians don't want, a peace that will be anything but peaceful?
The Israelis are correctly resisting the suicidal implications behind any imposed arrangement. But why is the impulse to achieve a settlement that will in fact settle nothing, there in the first place?
Lee Smith has an interesting article in Tablet in which he correctly points out that the urgency surrounding the Palestinian issue has little to do with reality. The various Muslim states, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and Iran, need to find a way to accomplish two things: Divert attention from their own autocratic behavior, and win over the West to support their non-democratic governments. They do this essentially by changing the subject.
The problem, in their formulation, is not their own internal dysfunction, but rather it is the "Zionist entity." And persons like James Baker in the senior Bush administration, persons like Samantha Powers in the current Obama administration, Europeans like Tony Blair, nod their heads with sage understanding, convinced in their hearts that the problem is Israel and the "Zionist lobby."
Many American foreign policy gurus and most European diplomats, who should know better, swallow the nonsense that if we can only solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, all the other problems in the Middle East will magically disappear. When the attacks of Sept 11, 2001, against New York and Washington occurred, Al Qaeda talking little about Israel. Once they realized what a public relations bonanza that could be, the attacks took on an anti-Israel tint.
Now we have a unique phenomenon. The Arab masses are rising up against their autocratic leaders. And not one word about Israel. No one is claiming they are revolting over the "plight of the Palestinians"
It is hard to understand how the takeover of Lebanon by Syria, the killing of the Lebanese prime minister by Bashar Assad, the murder of 25,000 Syrians by Hafez Assad, the Iraq-Iran war, the genocide in the Sudan, or any of the dozens of other problems of the area, have anything to do with Israel . And so the lie has been exposed. Here is a reasonable question: will the Arabists of the State Department, or those like Samantha Powers who surround Barack Obama, change their tune? Not likely. Once stuck with an "explanation", even the smartest people will tend to focus on those "facts" that support their theses, and ignore those realties that clash with their vision, so-called confirmation bias.
Smith points out that "The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel's treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West's approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West and its key to ensuring the stability of the West's favored regimes."
Why is President Obama still pushing for a peace based on old ideas, still pushing for a settlement "freeze"? America should know better. Our government keeps going back to the Middle East with the same proposals, ideas that have never worked. Why are these ideas stillborn? Because the Palestinians have rejected any recognition of a Jewish state, or any solution that does not contain within it the seeds for the destruction of Israel, and Israel has rejected suicide. The result over the decades has been thousands of Israeli casualties resulting from terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, who are doing the dirty work of Syria, Iran and others, and thousands of Arabs killed when Israel responded.
As Smith points out, "this is no "meaningless" cycle of violence; rather, it is the product of a deliberate diplomatic process overseen by the world's oldest democracy. It was the United States that kept going back to the well over and over"