Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Earlier this year, President Obama drove U.S.-Israeli relations – to use one of President Obama’s oft-employed analogies – into a ditch. Arguably, ties between the two countries were never more strained than last spring when Mr. Obama serially insulted the elected leader of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vilified his country and tried to euchre it into making territorial, political and other ill-advised concessions to Arabs determined as ever to destroy the Jewish state. Unfortunately, what the president has in mind for Israel after the election next week will make his previous treatment of the Jewish state look like the good old days.
To be sure, ties between the United States and Israel – far and away America’s most important and loyal friend in the Middle East – have improved lately from the nadir to which Mr. Obama plunged them since he took office. That has nothing to do, however, with a change of heart or agenda on the part of the president and his administration.
Rather, it is a reflection of a cynical calculation forced upon the Obama White House by its panicked congressional allies. Already laboring under the backbreaking burden of their association with a president and his agenda that have become huge liabilities, Democrats on Capitol Hill faced wholesale defections of their Jewish constituents and funders if their party’s leader persisted in his assault on Israel. Public letters and private conversations had the desired effect: Mr. Obama began treating his Israeli counterpart with a modicum of respect and the optics of a restarted peace process – however short-lived or doomed – helped conjure up an image of a renewed partnership between the two nations.
Make no mistake about it, though: Once the 2010 elections are behind him, it is a safe bet that Mr. Obama will revert to form by once again exhibiting an unmistakable and ruthless determination to bend Israel to his will.
Worse yet, he will be able to take advantage of a vehicle for effecting the so-called “two-state solution,” no matter how strenuously Israel and its friends in Washington object. The Palestinians will unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for international recognition, and Mr. Obama will accede to that request.
A number of the particulars involved in this gambit are unclear at the moment. For example, will the Palestinians announce the borders of their state to be the 1967 cease-fire lines, in which case large Israeli population centers (defined as “settlements”) will be inside a nation that is certain to be, to use Hitler’s phrase, Judenrein (free of Jews)? How will the Hamas-stan of Gaza be connected to the currently PLO-run West Bank – in a way that will make them “contiguous” without bisecting the Jewish state and ensuring that Hamas does not take over the rest of the so-called “Palestinian Authority?”
Also unclear is precisely how Mr. Obama will handle the sticky issue of extending U.S. recognition of Palestine. Will he want to parallel Harry Truman’s direct and immediate endorsement of the establishment of Israel in 1948? Or will he do it more disingenuously, as former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton speculated in the Wall Street Journal last week, by having the U.S. abstain from an approving vote by the U.N. Security Council. The hope behind the latter would be that Team Obama and its partisans will somehow avoid retribution from Israel’s friends, both Democrats and others, here and abroad.
The truth is that, either way, Mr. Obama will have dealt Israel a potentially mortal blow. Without control of the high ground and water aquifers of the West Bank, the Jewish state is simply indefensible and unsustainable.
Some suggest that international forces (perhaps led by America) should be deployed in the areas Jews have historically known as Judea and Samaria so as to ensure that they are not used to harm Israelis in the low-lying areas to the west.
We have seen how such arrangements work in practice in Lebanon, though – which is to say not well.
In southern Lebanon, U.N. “peacekeepers” have merely wound up protecting Israel’s enemies, notably Hezbollah, as such foes of both the Jewish state and our own have amassed immense amounts of missiles and other arms and prepared to resume hostilities against Israel at a moment of that Iranian-backed terrorist group’s choosing (or, more precisely, that of their sponsors in Tehran). The same is certain to eventuate in the West Bank as paramilitary forces the United States has foolishly trained and equipped become a standing army and fall under the sway of Hamas.
Such a “two-state solution” will make another regional war vastly more likely rather than preventing it. Yet, the Obama administration is committed to pursuing that goal as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made excruciatingly clear in a pandering speech to the American Task Force on Palestine last week.
Among other ominous comments, she declared that “the World Bank recently reported that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, ‘well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.’ ” She seemed determined in particular to emphasize the last seven words.Voters need to know now whether Mr. Obama and those in Congress who support his agenda are determined to help Israel’s enemies destroy her – not find out that is the case after the elections.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio,” heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.