May 15, 2009

Netanyahu and Obama: The Perfect Storm

By Mike Evans

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, May 19 is simply the tradewind of a perfect storm; no matter how they smile for the cameras. The likelihood of Obama supporting an attack on Iran or Netanyahu’s quid pro quo benchmarks for a Palestinian mythological state is less than zero.

Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, does not like Netanyahu. The Clintons did everything possible to marginalize him, and more, during his last term as prime minister. President Bill Clinton made some very unflattering remarks about him in the presence of Aaron David Miller, a Middle East negotiator. The White House spokesman at the time was Joe Lockhart, who described Netanyahu in an interview as...
"one of the most obnoxious individuals you're going to come into - just a liar and a cheat. He could open his mouth and you could have no confidence that anything that came out of it was the truth."
President Obama believes a Palestinian state will defuse most of the Middle East hostility issues. He has expressed support for speedy action since his first days in office.

The fact that the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state makes it impossible for Jews in Israel to recognize a Palestinian state. A greater proportion of Palestinians consider the destruction of the Jewish state a far greater priority than creating a state of their own.

Netanyahu supports a three-track peace process in which the Palestinians’ willingness to support the rule of law would come before economic considerations or land for peace. A Palestinian state with airspace, an Army and one that can make treaties with other Arab, Jew-hating states such as Syria, Iran, and Libya will never happen. Netanyahu would never support the Palestinians having an army, airspace, or the right to establish treaties with Arab states hostile to Israel. Netanyahu considers a Palestinian state without preconditions a “Hail Mary” pass. He believes the Palestinians and the majority of the Arab world hold to a “you stole our house” belief system, and will never be satisfied with a few “rooms.” He would prefer moving the ball down the field gradually.

Obama’s June 4th message of reconciliation to the Arab world is no coincidence. His Liberal Left and European allies are demanding a tough love policy which blames Israel for the region’s problems, and the quicker the U.S. distances itself from Israel, the more rapidly bridges can be built in the Islamic world. This is similar to the appeasement policies of the 1930s in Europe.

Obama made his feelings about the Likud Party, chaired by Netanyahu, quite plain during the election when he said,
“I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel."
The president has invited leaders of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority to Washington in May and June. He has already met with King Abdullah II at the White House where he signaled he may be ready to put pressure on Netanyahu:
“I agree that we cannot talk forever; that at some point steps have to be taken so that people can see progress on the ground…and that will be something that we will expect to take place in the coming months.”
Obama indicated he might be prepared to link Israel’s behavior during the peace process with the considerable aid the U.S. gives to Israel. He said that what the U.S. can do regarding the Palestinian/Israeli peacemaking efforts is to create the conditions and atmosphere and provide the help and assistance that facilitates an agreement.

Obama, the most popular president since Franklin Roosevelt, does not fear American Jewry; 80 percent supported him and also contributed more than 50 percent of the Democratic campaign funding.

Netanyahu was not invited to meet during the AIPAC conference at which he wanted to speak. President Shimon Peres was welcomed with a media black-out when he met with Obama on May 5 while in Washington for the AIPAC meeting. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has clearly articulated the administration’s belief that it must link American efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons to Israeli efforts toward establishing a Palestinian state. Netanyahu completely rejects this, and it will be a key issue during his talks with President Obama.

Thirteen years ago in 1996, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that a nuclear Iran would be the greatest danger the world would face. He warned that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran would have dire consequences.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden hold similar views to Emanuel. National Security Advisor General James Jones recently assured a European foreign minister that, unlike Bush, Obama would be “forceful” with Israel. Even more shocking is the announcement from an assistant secretary of state, calling for Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

When I recommended Benjamin Netanyahu to Prime Minister Menachem Begin for his first government appointment in 1982, I clearly saw a man with moral clarity. He had zero tolerance for terror after the death of his older brother, Yonathan, was killed in Uganda during Operation Entebbe on July 4, 1976.

The chances of a love-fest on Tuesday are less than zero. It appears that the only diplomatic meal served will be barbecued Jew…no matter how sweet the appetizer.

Related News

Jordan's king lauds US peace commitment - Ynetnews
Jewish Israelis want PM to back two-state plan: poll - AFP
Obama to Confront Israeli Settlement Surge in Netanyahu Meeting - Bloomberg
Netanyahu to Meet Obama as U.S. Priorities Shift - New York Times