After the recent U.S. election, President Barack Obama unhappily conceded that he had suffered a “shellacking.” For the most part, the president was referring to an obviously firm and far-reaching rejection of his domestic policies. Nonetheless, his personal influence has now been weakened generally, including in many areas of U.S. foreign policy. It is fair to ask, therefore, whether his oft-stated preferences for a “Road Map to Peace in the Middle East” (that is, creation of a Palestinian state out of the still-living body of Israel), and also for “a world free of nuclear weapons (that is, a world in which Israel would no longer be able to deter existential attacks) are still a matter of reasonable concern.
Until now, the Obama plan for a road map to peace in the Middle East revealed that in matters concerning Israeli rights under international law, there was essentially nothing new under the sun. Once again, fundamental Israeli rights, including even the right of Jews to live and construct homes anywhere in the land of Israel, were being subordinated to the presumed rights of all others. This included the annihilatory claims of a wrongly and an imprudently legitimized Palestinian “Authority.”
To be fair, President Obama is certainly not the originator of our misconceived U.S. foreign policy toward Israel. Oddly enough, already back in the 1990s, Palestinian terrorist militias were being trained by the CIA in “counter terror tactics.” A core component of the Obama administration’s Palestinian policy has been to train the “moderate” Fatah-led Palestinian army. U.S. Lt. General Keith Dayton has been supervising this self-defeating training in Jordan. Under presidential direction, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been pushed to accept an expanded deployment of Palestinian counter terrorist forces in areas throughout the West Bank (Judea/Samaria).
If ever there was an irrefutable oxymoron, this is it. “Palestinian counterterrorist forces.” The president, embracing a so-called “Arab Peace Plan” (previously, the “Saudi Plan”) still expects Israel to retreat to indefensible 1949 armistice lines and to simultaneously expel hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea/Samaria, Jerusalem and possibly also the Golan Heights.
The Arab Plan that has been favored by Mr. Obama also effectively demands that Israel cease being a Jewish state, by allowing literally millions of foreign Arabs to become Israeli citizens within the country’s soon-to-be shrunken borders.
There is yet another distressing layer of irony and illegality here. Each and every day, the Arab and Iranian media is thoroughly filled with graphic calls for violence against all Jews, not “just” against Israelis. These explicit entreaties to aggression and genocide are not simply indecent or impermissible on moral grounds. They also stand in unassailably stark violation of codified and customary norms of international law. Indeed, as these particular norms are peremptory, that is, norms permitting absolutely no derogation, the relevant legal violations are of utmost seriousness.
Now that the American elections have changed, somewhat, the balance of power in Washington, we should inquire: Where are the indispensable demands of Washington and/or the entire international community for Arab/Iranian cessation of these invitations to murder?
The answer, surprisingly, has much less to do with Washington than with Jerusalem. There will never be any such indispensable demands until Israel first begins to speak up for itself. In this connection, it is time for Israel’s representatives in all international organizations and forums to remind the world much more plainly and consistently of Israel’s own incontestable rights to self-defense. This can never be accomplished when Prime Minister Netanyahu agrees to any idea of a Palestinian state, even one that will purportedly be “demilitarized.”
Israel is under no obligation to disappear in order to satisfy undisguised cravings of genocidal Jew-hatred in various portions of the Islamic world. For its part, the United States, finally, should cease prodding Israel toward complicity in its own disappearance. We can easily recall, earlier, Jimmy Carter’s genuinely insidious motives in the Middle East, and although Barack Obama may be substantially better-intentioned toward Israel, he is still plainly quite naïve about the inherently-perilous synergies of Middle Eastern religion, culture and politics. Perhaps the consequences of this naiveté will be somewhat mitigated after the recent American elections.
In December 2003, after the latest genocide had already been “completed,” the world legal order dealt with a glaring case of organized hatred involving Rwanda. In that case, the particular venue was the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda (ICTR). More precisely, three African media executives were then found guilty by ICTR of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
These guilty verdicts were based upon provocative reports and editorials that had been published in the early 1990s before and during the orchestrated mass murder of the Tutsi Rwandan minority by Hutus. This was a genocide that managed to murder, mostly by machete, 800,000 people in ninety days. Significantly, these defendants, who serate of killing was much faster than during the Holocaust, were not convicted of any specific acts of authentic violence, but only of a heinous abuse of words.
(To Be Continued)
LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), and is the author of many books and articles dealing with genocide, terrorism, war and international law. Strategic and Military Affairs analyst for The Jewish Press, he is Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue.
Louis Rene Beres