President Barack Obama’s direct contact with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to devise a long-term cease-fire plan follows a long history of American and U.N. ventures that have flopped, all of them at Israel’s expense.
Egypt has been the power broker in trying to maintain a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, and Obama is trying to put his foot in the Middle East door to reclaim American influence based by whittling down the popularity of Netanyahu.
His “poll numbers are a lot higher than mine” and “were greatly boosted by the war in Gaza,” Obama told Thomas Friedman of The New York Times last week. “And so if he doesn’t feel some internal pressure, then it’s hard to see him being able to make some very difficult compromises, including taking on the settler movement.”
It’s always the fault of the settlers. If it rains on the picnic, it is because of the settlers. If Obama’s popularity drops, it is because of the settlers who are an obstacle to his illusions.
The war against terror in Gaza has made Netanyahu even more popular. A Knesset Channel poll released this week shows that the Likud party that he heads would win almost 50 percent more seats than it now has in the Knesset if elections were held today. That translated into 28 mandates compared with 19.
Obama must be politically jealous of Netanyahu, considering the president’s dismal ratings.
Jealous or not, Obama has the habit of most previous presidents to pressure Israel, often by blocking or threatening to block military aid. That is what happened during the war, when Obama stopped the United States from shipping missiles to Israel, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Obama’s phone conversation with Netanyahu was reported as “combative,” nothing new for the two leaders who have distrusted each other during the president’s two terms of office.
The American government’s one-track mind for the “peace process” blocks out all reality, which is a lot different in the Middle East than in the United States. The Jewish Home party’s Housing Minister Ur Ariel said it in a matter of fact way on Thursday – “Americans don’t understand what is happening in the region.”
But that doesn’t stop Obama from throwing his weight around and bullying himself into Iraq, Syria and Egypt only to look like a fish out of water.
Like Carter, Clinton and even Reagan, Obama has the freedom to exploit Israel’s democracy and run roughshod over the government to “make peace” with cease-fires that make war.
That is what happened in 2012 to conclude the Pillar of Cloud campaign against Hamas terror, and that is what happened in 2009 to conclude the Operation Cast Lead campaign against terror.
That is what happened in 2006, when the United Nations and the United States brokered a cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanese War and promised the moon, whose location has not moved since. Hezbollah was supposed to be dis-armed under United Nations supervision, which is like Hamas agreeing to dis-arm under Mahmoud Abbas’ supervision.
“For proxies such as the Palestinian Sunni faction Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, the centuries old Islamic jurisprudence of Hudna (tactical truce) and Tahadiya (temporary calm) serve as a plausibly regrouping tactic that is continuously reshaped amid the changing face of modern warfare in the Middle East,” Israel Defense noted during the war.
Enter U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, whose “peace process” and ceasefires self-destruct.
He and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon orchestrated a humanitarian cease-fire last month. It lasted for 90 minutes. At least five other cease-fires failed.
Israel Defense reported, “Following the inability to transmute any ceasefire, Hudna or Tahadiya over the last decade into encompassing political progress, the tone is that ceasefires only exasperate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the medium-to long-term. Paradoxically, it is the achievement of these bitesize ceasefires as a short term benefit that has trampled on the utility of ceasefire.”