Jun 3, 2009

President Vows Middle East Solution in Two Years

By Mike Evans

Centuries of conflict have surrounded the Jews and Palestinians, both claiming ownership of the tiny parcel of land that is Israel. Learned men have devoted themselves to a resolution; politicians have haggled over the perfect peace treaty that would, ultimately, mean a star in their negotiations crown. Men and women have died to preserve the nation of Israel, and now comes President Barack Obama who has given himself just two years to resolve the Israel/Palestinian issue. Is he foolhardy, or will he abandon Israel in order to achieve his goal?

The president will travel to Egypt later this week to deliver a speech that the White House says will “take on the tough issues.” At the top of his list of concerns is a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

According to White House advisers, in his speech in the Egyptian capital this week, Obama will "take on the tough issues" including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and offer to help overcome disparities with the Muslims predicated on "mutual interests and mutual respect." Apparently, the president believes he must placate the Muslim nations by sacrificing Israel on the altar of appeasement. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t seem too eager to satisfy the president’s desire to interfere in Israel’s political future.

President Obama’s foray into the Middle East will begin with a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and a meeting with King Abdullah. One can but wonder if he will again bow to the sovereign of a Muslim nation as he did on their first meeting. Obama and the king will review the Saudi peace initiative which calls for, among other things, Israel to return to her 1967 borders and give East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as a capital.

Denis McDonough, Obama’s foreign policy advisor said,
“Some of the things that you will hear in the speech are returning to proven and effective policies and initiatives that have . . . served the national interest well in the past.”
Would someone care to translate that into understandable English? To what policies and initiatives does this statement refer? Many of the proposals proffered by past administrations place Israel in the vice of appeasement, demanding that it relinquish yet more land-for-peace – a plan that has never worked, and never will.

Egypt has long been a U.S. ally, and is the largest Arab nation worldwide. Cairo, its largest city, is home to 18 million people and to Al Azhar University, the center of learning for Sunni Arabs.

Egyptian historian Mahmoud Sabet applauded Obama’s choice of Cairo to deliver his address to moderate Muslims:
“If you are going to conceive of Iran as being a rival in the region, and Iran is a Shia country ... if you are going to tell the vast majority of Sunni Muslims that you are not their enemy, it makes sense.”
There is some concern, however,about the president’s overtures to Iran, a Shia nation at odds with its Sunni Arab brethren. Arabs, moderate and fanatical, are clamoring for a Palestinian state for only one reason; it would mean the demise of the state of Israel. This is the aim today, as it has been since the miraculous founding of the Jewish state in 1948. It is the reason the PLO was founded in Cairo in 1964, and the explanation for Yasser Arafat’s deadly intifada against the Jewish people. It is the reason Israel has been compelled to go to the bargaining table time and again and forced to accept agreements that were detrimental to the safety and security of the tiny nation.

With the delivery of a speech in Cairo on Wednesday, President Barack Obama will join the long list of American presidents who have tried to back the Israelis into a corner. It will be interesting to see how the pugnacious prime minister of Israel reacts to the determined president.

Related News

Obama speech aimed at both Arabs and Israelis - Reuters
Barack Obama walks Muslim minefield - Politico
Obama Unbowed By King Abdullah This Time - NPR
Obama Settlement Demands Stir Rising Tensions in Israel - FOX News