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Obama Lectured Israelis, Promised and Applauded Arab Palestinians

So the west will continue pretending that: the PA is a non-terrorist political group deserving of continuing U.S. aid, the Israeli government is intransigent and unwilling to make concessions, and it is Israel which bears all responsibility for ensuring that a Palestinian state - created in its own image - comes into existence as soon as possible.
U.S. President Barack Obama during a press conference at the Muqata Presidential Compound in Ramallah, March 21, 2013.

U.S. President Barack Obama during a press conference at the Muqata Presidential Compound in Ramallah, March 21, 2013.
Photo Credit: Issam RImawi/FLASH90

U.S. President Barack Obama gave two speeches on Thursday, March 21, one to Arab Palestinians in a joint press conference with acting head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and the other to Israelis at the Jerusalem Convention Center.

His talks were ostensibly about the state of relations between the different parties, but everyone knew that the animating impulse was to kickstart the “Middle East Peace Process.” Everyone who watched the speeches or read the transcripts, are now desperately looking at the tea leaves to see what just happened.

The substance of Obama’s two speeches, the venues in which they were given, the words chosen, the words avoided, taken all together paint a vivid picture of this president and his beliefs about the region.

One speech he gave in Ramallah, the acknowledged seat of government of the Palestinian Authority, where he gave a joint press conference with Mahmoud Abbas, the acting leader of the PA.  The other he gave in Jerusalem, not at the seat of Israel’s government, and not directed to Israel’s elected leaders.

At the Jerusalem speech the U.S. president spoke directly to the citizenry of Israel, mostly university students – minus those, such as students at a newly credentialed Israeli university located in Ariel – which is situated beyond the “green line” and, apparently, for Obama is beyond the Pale, ironic given the large number of Arabs who are students at that university.

The speeches revealed little that is new: Obama believes there should be two states on the land, one, the Jewish homeland, Israel, and the other, a new one for Arab Palestinians, called Palestine.  He criticized Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist entities, praised what he said was the Palestinian Authority’s transparency, institution-building and security services, and lauded Israeli ingenuity.

“Only in Israel could you see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the place where the technology on board the Mars Rover originated,” Obama told the audience in Jerusalem.

But there were clear indications of what Obama believes, and what he wants to have happen between Israel and the Arab Palestinians.

He believes that the Arab Palestinians, like all “oppressed” people, are yearning for freedom which, when granted, will quell their hatred for their oppressors.  He certainly sees their plight as akin to that of African Americans before the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery. And he links the idea of slavery and second status-hood of African Americans with Arab Palestinians.

And those of us in the United States understand that change takes time but it is also possible, because there was a time when my daughters could not expect to have the same opportunities in their own country as somebody else’s daughters.

Obama talked about the Jewish people who were slaves in Egypt, and who had suffered pogroms and genocide and their freedom, expressed in Zionism.

“The idea that people deserve to be free in a land of their own,” Obama said, and that once the Jews achieved that, they should know that “responsibility does not end when you reach the promised land, it only begins.”  Suggesting, not too subtly, that it is the responsibility of Israelis to enable Arab Palestinians to enjoy their freedom in their own homeland.

Appealing directly to the Israeli people, the U.S. president said

The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized.  Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes.  It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day.  It is not just when settler violence goes unpunished.  It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home.  Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer.  Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.

In other words, Obama believes virtually every one of the points of the false narrative that have been spun since Arafat was brought back from Tunisia: the Arab Palestinians are the sole native people, Israeli “settlers” commit violence and that violence goes unpunished, Arab Palestinian farmers are prevented from farming “their” land, the movements of Arab Paelstinians are restricted for no reason other than Israeli arrogance and greed, Arab Palestinians have been unfairly expelled from their land and they live under a state of Occupation in their own land, and, ultimately and completely, the land belongs, always belonged and must belong to the Arab Palestinians.

When in Ramallah, the U.S. president did not mention any responsibilities for peace owed by his listeners.  Instead, he talked about the recent release of U.S. funds “to help the Palestinian Authority bolster its finances.”  The only discussion of terrorism when speaking in Ramallah was directed at Hamas. As recently as last month, however, a PA terror group claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Israel from Gaza.

Just as the U.S. president told the Israelis that the Arabs deserve their own state and that it is the responsibility of Israelis to give it to them, he made the same points to the Arab Palestinian audience gathered in Ramallah.

The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it.  Palestinians deserve to move and travel freely, and to feel secure in their communities.  Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope — that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.  Put simply, the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own.

When in Jerusalem, Obama talked about Hizbollah and the Assad regime, and also Iran, as contributing to Israel’s security issues, but nothing about the constant terror attempts by those under the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, including the Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is responsible for more terrorist attacks than any other Arab Palestinian terrorist group.

Obama proclaimed in Ramallah that the U.S. seeks “an independent, a viable and a contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people.”  To the Jewish crowd in Jerusalem, he said the same thing except he left out the word “contiguous.”

And the U.S. president congratulated the PA on its achievements of which he and the U.S. , “as its single largest donor of assistance” is so proud: increased transparency, efficiency, stronger and more professional security forces, and institution building.

JEWISH HOMES, ARAB ROCKETS, BOTH ‘IRRITANTS’

Obama acknowledged that there are disagreements between the two sides – he referred to them as “irritants”: the “Israelis have concerns about rockets flying into their cities at night,” and for the Arab Palestinians it is “the continued settlement activity in the West Bank area.”   But, he said,

My argument is even though both sides may have areas of strong disagreement, may be engaging in activities that the other side considers to be a breach of good faith, we have to push through those things to try to get to an agreement — because if we get an agreement then it will be very clear what the nature of that agreement is: there will be a sovereign Palestinian state, a sovereign Jewish state of Israel.

While side-stepping the Arab insistent focus on the problem of settlement building – and this is what gave rise to furious responses in the Arab media – Obama described the core goal in this way: “How do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people, and how do we assure security for the Israeli people?”

He wants a “broad-based agreement that assures the Palestinians that they have a state, and you have a comprehensive approach that ensures Israel the kind of security they need.”

Apparently the new buzz words will be “sovereignty” and “security.”

The problem, of course, with Obama’s vision is that determining boundaries is a fixed decision – the land doesn’t move, there can’t be any change, while a promise, a commitment, even a sworn statement guaranteeing peace is permeable and depends on the commitment of millions of people – many of whom have rather poor track records – to honor it.

And just in case anyone hoped to pretend that the PA understands negotiations happen when both sides to a conflict agree to make substantial compromises in order to achieve a mutually satisfactory goal, that delusion was put to rest.  When Mahmoud Abbas introduced President Obama to the gathered crowd in Ramallah, he spoke briefly but made clear what his intentions are, have been, and will always be.

Abbas stated that his people have suffered from “the calamities of the Nakba (the re-birth of Israel),” that the land has belonged to the Arab Palestinian people” since ancient times,” Jerusalem “the Lady of the Cities” must be the capital of the “independent state of Palestine,” that peace cannot come so long as there are “walls, settlements, arrests, denial of refugee rights,” and that the Arab Palestinian people fully intend to join forces with Hamas, thereby “ending the division [to] achieve the Palestinian reconciliation.”

Okay then.

There was one new hopeful development that the U.S. president hoped to see replicated.  When Obama spoke to the audience in Jerusalem, he revealed that he envisions the future state of Palestine to mirror the current state of Israel in terms of being an open society, committed to education, entrepreneurship, one that is opposed to corruption and is a hub for regional trade:

One of the great ironies of what is happening in the broader region is that so much of what people are yearning for – education and entrepreneurship; the ability to start a business without paying a bride, to connect to the global economy – those things can be found in Israel.

Obama described a program run by a U.S. company, Cisco, in Jeruslaem, where “young Arab engineers and Palestinian engineers” are hired because they are so well qualified, so talented.  He went on to share his fantasy – and it is a fantasy – of such a program taking place in “Palestine”:

Well, imagine if you have a strong, independent state that’s peaceful — and all that talent that currently is being untapped that could be creating jobs and businesses and prosperity throughout this area.

Perhaps people have difficulty imaging that is because everyone in the Middle East knows it is not going to happen.  There will be no Jews working in those programs alongside the “well qualified, so talented” Arab Palestinian engineers in “Palestine,” because no Jew will be allowed in the state that he and so many westerners are trying so desperately hard to help create.

So “two states for two people” is likely to be replaced with “sovereignty and security,” the west will continue pretending that: the PA is a non-terrorist political group deserving of continuing U.S. aid, the Israeli government is intransigent and unwilling to make concessions, and it is Israel which bears all responsibility for ensuring that a Palestinian state  – created in its own image – comes into existence as soon as possible.

Nothing new.



About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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16 Responses to “Obama Lectured Israelis, Promised and Applauded Arab Palestinians”

  1. Do not give up God's land for peace. That peace will not be a lasting peace. Month by month, and week by week. The middle east spins more out of control. Iran continues unwavering on it’s march in the development of nuclear weapons and Assad the dictator of Syria is still in power. Current intelligence seems uncertain of when Iran will get the bomb and Israel cannot afford to gamble with this. Assad of Syria looks like he may be willing to use weapons of mass destruction against his own people and against near by nations as well. If this situation does not drastically change soon for the better, I believe the war in Isaiah Chapter 17 will likely take place. Damascus Syria would be destroyed. The worlds economy would likely collapse as a result and could usher in a one world government movement. I wrote a small 6 page book that outlines what I believe the Bible states will take place soon as well as the potential trends I see at this time. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next.

  2. Do not give up God's land for peace. That peace will not be a lasting peace. Month by month, and week by week. The middle east spins more out of control. Iran continues unwavering on it’s march in the development of nuclear weapons and Assad the dictator of Syria is still in power. Current intelligence seems uncertain of when Iran will get the bomb and Israel cannot afford to gamble with this. Assad of Syria looks like he may be willing to use weapons of mass destruction against his own people and against near by nations as well. If this situation does not drastically change soon for the better, I believe the war in Isaiah Chapter 17 will likely take place. Damascus Syria would be destroyed. The worlds economy would likely collapse as a result and could usher in a one world government movement. I wrote a small 6 page book that outlines what I believe the Bible states will take place soon as well as the potential trends I see at this time. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next.

  3. Jay Sprueill says:

    Don't let the US government destroy Israel the way they have destroyed America, tell OBAMA to ####OFF.

  4. AMen to that! Obama says hes a christian but did he ever really read the Bible? He should read where God gave Israel an everlasting covenant to the Land.

  5. Bear Klein says:

    TWO STATE SOLution is DEAD. Giving up land gets you rockets. So keep the land and be safer. You can not be a foriegn army in your own land. Annex Area C and offer autonomy in Area A under Israeli military protection the Palestinians.

  6. I hope nobody is under the impression that Obama has suddenly become a champion for Israeli rights. Obama is a very effective rhetorical speaker, it was this gift of gab that put him in the White House. But, it’s important to look at his record of his actual actions that’s what really matters and on that score, he falls short. In fact, it was his approach towards Israel that caused me to vote for Romney in the recent elections. I noticed in his speech he mentioned the “peace process,” and Israel becoming increasingly more isolated. Let’s remember, that the group he is referring to is the Europeans and they have never been a promoter for Israel’s rights also, there has been a sharp increase in anti Semitism over there. There should be only one litmus test that effect Israel’s decision making and that’s what is best for the country, not outsiders who are on the other teams side. The fact remains, not only the Palestinians but for the Arab world overall, they know what needs to be done on their part for peace to happen and have been unwilling to give up their enduring quest to do away with Israel. Until there is a fundamental shift in their philosophy in dealing with Israel there can be no realistic chance at peace. The decision is not up Israel, they have shown time and again their willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of peace. Now it’s time for the world to finally place the pressure where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the Arabs. I have always had a big problem with politicians in Israel who have offered a building freeze, the succession of land, relinquishing Jerusalem, and pulling out of strategic checkpoints. None of these actions can ever achieve peace, all they will do is please Israel’s adversaries and increase the chance of Israel being destroyed. If I had to choose, I would rather have American Presidents like Harry Truman and Richard Nixon, who were known at times to make disparaging remarks about the Jewish people or Israel but whose acted in ways that were helpful to Israel over their counterparts like Obama and FDR whose speeches sounded great but they didn’t back it up with tangible and beneficial results. I hope Obama recognized that the same people he spends so much time advocating for were burning American flags and pictures of him. Perhaps this may have caused a sea change but I doubt it.

  7. I hope nobody is under the impression that Obama has suddenly become a champion for Israeli rights. Obama is a very effective rhetorical speaker, it was this gift of gab that put him in the White House. But, it’s important to look at his record of his actual actions that’s what really matters and on that score, he falls short. In fact, it was his approach towards Israel that caused me to vote for Romney in the recent elections. I noticed in his speech he mentioned the “peace process,” and Israel becoming increasingly more isolated. Let’s remember, that the group he is referring to is the Europeans and they have never been a promoter for Israel’s rights also, there has been a sharp increase in anti Semitism over there. There should be only one litmus test that effect Israel’s decision making and that’s what is best for the country, not outsiders who are on the other teams side. The fact remains, not only the Palestinians but for the Arab world overall, they know what needs to be done on their part for peace to happen and have been unwilling to give up their enduring quest to do away with Israel. Until there is a fundamental shift in their philosophy in dealing with Israel there can be no realistic chance at peace. The decision is not up Israel, they have shown time and again their willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of peace. Now it’s time for the world to finally place the pressure where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the Arabs. I have always had a big problem with politicians in Israel who have offered a building freeze, the succession of land, relinquishing Jerusalem, and pulling out of strategic checkpoints. None of these actions can ever achieve peace, all they will do is please Israel’s adversaries and increase the chance of Israel being destroyed. If I had to choose, I would rather have American Presidents like Harry Truman and Richard Nixon, who were known at times to make disparaging remarks about the Jewish people or Israel but whose acted in ways that were helpful to Israel over their counterparts like Obama and FDR whose speeches sounded great but they didn’t back it up with tangible and beneficial results. I hope Obama recognized that the same people he spends so much time advocating for were burning American flags and pictures of him. Perhaps this may have caused a sea change but I doubt it.

  8. Anya Khan says:

    If you voted for him, this is in part YOUR FAULT.

  9. Anya Khan says:

    If you voted for him, this is in part YOUR FAULT.

  10. If the Arabs that occupy Judea and Samaria want a homeland – more power to them – but not on our land ever.

    The Arabs already have 99.93% of the land in the Middle East – that is more than enough even for thieving, xenophobic fascists like the Arabs. We will keep our tiny tiny 0.07% of the land.

    The terrorists have to go.

  11. he is slippery and vacant. his personal agenda of overweening ambition and narcissistic self adoration governs his thinking.

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    'credentialed Israeli university located in Ariel – which is situated beyond the “green line” and, apparently, for Obama is beyond the Pale'.

    In fact, it *is* beyond the borders of Medinat Yisrael as defined by — Medinat Yisrael!

    "Obama believes there should be two states on the land, one, the Jewish homeland, Israel, and the other, a new one for Arab Palestinians, called Palestine."

    As does Benjamin Netanyahu — and the overwhelming majority of the member of the Knesset.

    'Apparently the new buzz words will be “sovereignty” and “security.”'.

    And the problem with sovereignty and security is..

    "Nothing new."

    Correct. Land for Peace has been the policy of the last nine US Presidents, and the last six Israeli Prime Ministers. If you don't like that, come up with a better solution, make aliyah, and elect 61 MKs that support that solution.

    But stop writing hit pieces on President Obama when his position on this issue is the same as that of the government of Israel.

  13. Yechiel Baum says:

    Ironic those heads of state misleads the public preaching about occupied lands. What date will Obama return Washington D.C. back to the Indians since he preaches about returning the rightful ancient capital of Israel – Jerusalem – he wants it usurbed to the Arabs? Has he returned New Mexico and Texas, and California back to the Mexicans?

    Has the Mexicans, originally from Spain returned their country back to the Incas and Mayans?

    Has Venezuala done the same?

    Wow, all these preachers but yet they do not practice what they preach!

    Has the UK given up The Falkland Islands, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Carribean, and British Petroleum who own most Arab countries?

  14. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, I know we agree on so many things, and disagree on several others. If you read his speeches and believe he is even-handed, then I really can't help you. If you didn't read his speeches, but only decided to cherry pick from my articles certain points that you thought you could plausibly comment on with great umbrage…feel free to continue to do so, but understand that it is not persuasive. And please, please don't embarrass yourself by claiming that President Obama's positions on Israel are the same as those of the government of Israel. Oh…and about that "make Aliyah or shut up about criticizing Obama" comment…mmm, #1 is possible, #2, not so much.

  15. Robin Rosenblatt says:

    Deliver Us from the ignorance of Islam that will make Us slaves again.

  16. Charlie Hall says:

    " President Obama's positions on Israel are the same as those of the government of Israel."

    I never said that all their positions are the same. But it is a fact that PM Netanyahu has endorsed a Palestinian State, as did his five predecessors. And it is also a fact that they have all accepted the idea of Land for Peace. Stop pretending otherwise.

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