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Until talk of a Gaza cease-fire started percolating, the U.S. was largely supportive of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry rarely missed an opportunity to proclaim Israel’s right to defend itself (though with the caveat that every effort be made to minimize civilian casualties).
As the war went on, the U.S. refrain included statements to the effect that there could no rewarding of Hamas’s aggression. Yet at some point, American statements began referring to the need for cease-fire negotiations to include such matters as Hamas’s demands for a lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades, the easing of restrictions on civilian travel through now closed crossings out of Gaza, and the opening of a Hamas seaport and airport.
At first glance this sudden, albeit tentative, legitimizing of Hamas’s political agenda seemed out of place, given the U.S. government’s inclusion of Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations. And it also unceremoniously pulled the rug out from under Israel. In fact, the change is not just contrary to the longtime U.S. position toward Hamas, it also seems to run counter to virtually all of the Obama administration’s stated goals in the Middle East.
For years the president and more recently Secretary Kerry have been touting the virtues of a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Why then would they act in a way that bestows esteem on Hamas, which vociferously opposes an enduring agreement of any kind with Israel, and that boosts Hamas in the eyes of Palestinians as the engine of Palestinian success, inevitably inviting a comparison with the hapless Mahmoud Abbas who, at least publicly, champions a two-state solution?
And now, according to a story broken by the Wall Street Journal, Hamas can even claim that its efforts resulted in America’s holding back on arms supplies to Israel.
Another reason why it makes no sense to strengthen Hamas is that doing so will inevitably benefit Iran. Despite the current differences between Hamas and Iran over Syria, does anyone doubt a Hamas seaport or airport would be an enormous boost to Iranian interests?
And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests? Both have served as significant props for Hamas’s scuttling of any serious talk of a resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is also inexplicable that the Obama administration would act in defiance of the interests of Arab countries that would be key to securing a two-state solution. It is no secret that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are diametrically opposed to Hamas, if only as a matter of self-preservation vis-a-vis the militant Islamist world.
Moreover, as a collateral matter, what kind of signal is the United States sending to Islamists around the world? That ultimately there need be no fear of Washington, even respecting its loyalty to allies?
These developments are perplexing, to say the least. So much so that even Obama’s first secretary of state is distancing herself from the administration’s Mideast mess. To be sure, Hilary Clinton has an eye on a White House run in 2016, so her sincerity is suspect. Whatever her motivation, one can only hope Messrs. Obama and Kerry get their foreign policy act together well before the next presidential campaign begins in earnest.
For better and for worse, they are the leaders we have – and will remain so for another two and a half years.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/a-perplexing-middle-east-policy/2014/08/20/
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