The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
“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.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/a-perplexing-middle-east-policy/2014/08/20/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: