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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

How Will Obama Respond To The French Initiative?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Israelis and those of us concerned with Israel’s security are rightfully concerned about President Obama’s intentions in the waning days of his presidency, when he will no longer be concerned with or constrained by potential political fallout from any Mideast diplomatic moves.

It is no secret the president is frustrated by the evaporation of Arab-Israeli peace talks, with no apparent movement toward reconciliation. Inasmuch as Mr. Obama has in the past publicly mused that moving the dispute substantially toward a solution was one of the things for which he hoped to be remembered, many wonder whether he is now reconsidering his longstanding insistence that any solution must not be an imposed one but rather one that emerges from direct negotiations between the parties.

Some are suggesting that he is thinking about finally allowing – by withholding for the first time during his presidency an American veto – passage of one of the periodic Palestinian-inspired resolutions in the UN Security Council calling for one plan or another to be imposed on Israel. Others speculate he will propose his own resolution setting parameters for Israel’s future borders.

Either scenario would be a troubling development since it would reward Palestinian recalcitrance, insert non-Israeli thinking into what is best for Israelis – thereby striking at the very meaning of national sovereignty – and shield the Palestinians from having to make the kind of concessions that would allow for a realistic agreement.

The issue has recently become even more acute with the emergence of a French proposal to convene an international peace conference before the end of the year. Such gatherings tend to become venues for majorities to seek to impose their will on others and are thus unhelpful. So while Israel would be invited, Israel has already said it opposes the conference. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office stated that “genuine advancement of the peace process and reaching an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians…. All other initiatives only distance peace in the region.”

Nonetheless, the French have announced plans for sending several of its diplomats to the U.S. to try to coordinate its efforts with the outgoing Obama administration. So the pot is boiling and, to make matters worse, European Union foreign ministers have announced that they fully support the French conference.

The gang-up on Israel is gathering momentum. We hope President Obama will continue to hold to the principle that the only way toward peace in the Middle East is for the Palestinians to recognize that they cannot count on others to run interference for them.

Editorial Board

Orange is the New Black

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

From all the memes we were sent today, and we received a lot, this was without a doubt the best one.

Photo of the Day

Wikileaks: Rahm Emanuel Also Used Private Email

Monday, November 7th, 2016

The Chicago Tribune reported on Sunday a WikiLeaks revelation that Chicago Mayor and President Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel used a private email account like the one used by Hillary Clinton, to communicate with government officials and politicians.

Mayor Emanuel registered his personal email domain — rahmemail.com — on May 16, 2011, the day he was sworn into office. Clinton’s email domain name was clintonemail.com.

Emanuel’s private email account was revealed in last month’s hacked Podesta emails. Then a search of Clinton emails released by the State Department showed Emanuel used his private account to communicate with Hillary when she was secretary of state.

David Israel

State Dept. Condemns Jerusalem Housing Construction Amid Hints of Obama ‘November Surprise’

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli diplomats are expecting President Barack Obama to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the UN (Obama’s Israel Surprise?). “The White House has been unusually tight-lipped about what, if anything, it might have in mind,” the WSJ noted, “but our sources say the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the President’s final weeks.”

The Netanyahu cabinet has been extra careful not to provoke the ire of the retiring emperor on the eve of that portion of his term when he no longer needs to worry about the Jewish vote and will be free to follow his heart’s desire on the future of Jewish life in the Middle East. But it’s hard not to provoke Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry when their threshold for irritation seems to be so low. Such as the building permits for 181 new homes in Gilo, in the 1967 liberated territories, approved by the Jerusalem municipality back in 2012 (the permit was merely updated on Wednesday this week).

When asked during his daily briefing about the Israeli most recent 181 violations of mankind’s hope for peace, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We’re deeply concerned by those reports that the local planning and construction committee in Jerusalem approved permits for … 181 housing units and five community center infrastructure projects in Gilo, which is in East Jerusalem. Our policy on settlements, as I said before, is very clear. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which we believe is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

See? On John Kirby’s planet, which he shares with Kerry and Obama, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were already on their way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and maintain good neighborly relations with the Palestinian State next door, when suddenly a text message appeared on his smart phone telling him the Jews had decided to force a mass invasion of 181 Jewish families into Gilo — so the entourage turned back and returned to Ramallah.

“These decisions by Israeli authorities are just the latest examples of what appear to be a steady and systemic acceleration of Israeli settlement activity,” Kirby announced, lamenting that “in just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of an entirely new settlement near Shiloh, a potentially new settlement outpost in the North Jordan Valley, and over 80 Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

To provide much-needed context to the spokesperson’s wailing: the new homes in Shiloh will house the anticipated evacuees from Amona, uprooted by decree of a Supreme Court gone insane. And those illegal structures were an attempt by the Arabs to build without a permit in Area C, governed exclusively by Israel — a clear and intentional attempt by the EU, the US and local Arabs to violate the Oslo agreements.

When Kirby suggested that the above moves “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” he was asked if the Administration might be planning to “draw a line in the sand where it comes to actions that you say or you believe hurt the environment for negotiations for a two-state solution.” He answered: “I think [it] shouldn’t surprise anybody that, as an administration … we routinely talk about the situation in the Middle East and in Israel, and that, obviously, is something I think you know Secretary Kerry’s very focused on, so of course we have discussions about this. But I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions.”

There you have it: the most an Administration official has allowed himself to say regarding his bosses’ post-election plans for Israel.

The WSJ suggested on Monday that the Obama Administration might “sponsor, or at least allow, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction, perhaps alongside new IRS regulations revoking the tax-exempt status of people or entities involved in settlement building.”

Back in 2011, the Administration vetoed precisely this kind of resolution.

A vindictive President Obama could initiate or at least not vote against the formal recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. It would cause Congress to erupt in a storm of rage, especially if the president uses an executive order to do the wicked deed. Which means the next president could revoke such an order with the stroke of a pen.

Which must make one wonder if a President Hillary Clinton would dare to reverse an executive order recognizing the Palestinian State. What do you think?


Obama, Don’t Destroy the Peace Process by Turning It Over to the UN

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

The Obama administration is sending strong signals that once the election is over it may make a major push to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the United Nations. Despite repeated invitations by Prime Minister Netanyahu to President Abbas to meet without preconditions, the stalemate persists. Some blame it on Palestinian unwillingness to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and to compromise to the so-called “right of return.”  Others – including the current US administration — lay the blame largely at the feet of the Netanyahu government for continuing to build in the West Bank, most recently approval of between 98 and 300 new homes in Shiloh. Whatever the reasons – and they are complex and multifaceted — President Obama should resist any temptation, during his final weeks in office, to change longstanding American policy: that only direct negotiations between the parties will achieve a lasting peace.

In particular, Obama should veto an expected French resolution in the Security Council establishing an international peace conference under the auspices of the UN. The general parameters of the French resolution would likely call for: “Borders based on the 1967 Lines with agreed equivalent land swaps; security arrangements preserving the sovereignty of the Palestinian State and guaranteeing the security of Israel; a fair, equitable, and negotiated solution to the refugee problem; an arrangement making Jerusalem the capital of both states.”

These guidelines may sound reasonable. Indeed, they are strikingly similar to the offers made to and rejected by the Palestinian leadership in 2000-2001 from former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former US President Bill Clinton and in 2008 by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The UN, however, has disqualified itself from playing any constructive role in the peace process. Recent attempts by the UN to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have produced unmitigated disasters. The so-called Goldstone Report — which sought to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during the 2009 Israeli intervention in Gaza — was so blatantly biased against Israel that Richard Goldstone himself had to retract some of its key findings in 2011.

Since then, the UN has done nothing to reassure Israel that it is capable of offering an unbiased forum for negotiations. In the past year alone, the UN has singled out Israel for special criticism on issues like health rights, and most laughably, women’s rights, while failing even to mention regimes whose record on these issues is truly abominable. Last year alone, at least twenty separate resolutions were adopted by the UN General Assembly, which singled out Israel for special criticism. Most recently UNESCO attempted to erase millennia of Jewish history with regard to the Temple in Jerusalem. In light of such behavior, the US should not trust that Israel would receive a fair hearing at any UN sponsored peace conference.

As Netanyahu said in his most recent speech to the general assembly, “The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.” In other words, the only way forward for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is bilateral negotiations between the two parties. Netanyahu and Abbas must sit down and agree to necessary but painful compromises aimed at establishing a Palestinian state, while addressing Israel’s security concerns, and the realities on the ground. Resolutions such as the proposed French resolution undermine such efforts by encouraging the Palestinians to believe that direct negotiations — and the mutual sacrifices they would entail — are unnecessary, and that a Palestinian state can be achieved on the basis of UN resolutions alone. It would also make it more difficult, if not impossible, for the Palestinian Authority to accept anything less than that already given them by the UN — which would in turn guarantee the failure of any realistic negotiations.

It is for these and other reasons that American policy has long been to veto or otherwise derail UN attempts to interfere with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process even when it is stalled. As President Obama said in 2013:

“We seek an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. The only way to achieve that goal is through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.”

Hillary Clinton, too, has stated in the past, that she supports bilateral negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and her campaign has said that she “believes that a solution to this conflict cannot be imposed from without.”  So, too, has Donald Trump.

Recently, however, several past and present Obama officials have apparently advised the president to support, or at least not veto the French resolution, as well as a one-sided Palestinian push to have the UN declare Israeli settlements illegal. It would be wrong — and undemocratic –for Obama to unilaterally reverse decades of US foreign policy during the lame duck period. After all, in 2011 his administration vetoed an almost identical Palestinian proposal that called for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. Similarly, until now, Obama has repeatedly pressured the French and other European nations not to put forward any proposal related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the grounds that such initiatives discourage bilateral negotiations. This is surely the view of the majority of the Senate—which has its own constitutional authority to participate in foreign policy decisions. In fact, eighty-eight senators signed an open letter to Obama in which they called on the President to veto any Security Council resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The period between the election and the inauguration is the only time a president can act without the checks and balances of American Democracy. He should not take action that would tie the hands of his successor.

Obama must realize that no lasting peace can be achieved in the remaining months of his presidency: there are a multitude of complex and contentious issues — most notably the status of Jerusalem, the rights of so-called Palestinian refugees, and the situation in Gaza — that must be thoroughly addressed in order to achieve a lasting peace. Our next president will undoubtedly have to wade into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process again. The new administration — with the agreement of the Senate — should have full latitude to do what it deems most appropriate. It should not be stuck with parameters bequeathed to it by a president desperate to secure a short-term foreign policy “victory” that in the long term will make a resolution of the conflict more difficult to achieve.

If Obama feels that he must intrude in an effort to break the logjam before he leaves office, he should suggest that the current Israeli government offer proposals similar to those offered in 2000- 2001 and 2008, and that this time the Palestinian leadership should accept them in face-to-face negotiations. But he should take no action (or inaction) that invites UN involvement in the peace process – involvement that would guarantee failure for any future president’s efforts to encourage a negotiated peace.

We should hear the views of both candidates on whether the US should support or veto a Security Council Resolution that would tie their hands were they to be elected president. It is not too late to stop President Obama from destroying any realistic prospects for peace.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Report: Kerry’s Push for Iran Bank Transactions Defies Obama Administration Guidelines

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

At an awards ceremony in London on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that there are clear guidelines set by the Obama administration to protect banks doing business with Iran from American sanctions, even if the money they pour into Iran ends up in the accounts of entities that are still being sanctioned. According to The Weekly Standard, citing Republicans in Congress, that statement is disturbingly misleading, and reflects a fight that’s going on inside the Obama Administration.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) told the Standard that Kerry “appears to be more concerned with acting as Iran’s de facto trade representative than criticizing the regime for taking hostages, not coming clean on Bob Levinson’s case, and supporting terrorists attacking the United States.”

The senator warned US companies about the financial risks involved in doing business with Iran, especially the Revolutionary Guard, whose “tentacles are pervasive throughout the Iranian economy.”

“That’s the opposite of what Treasury Undersecretary [Adam] Szubin said a few weeks ago,” writes Omri Ceren, who notes that Szubin, discussing the same guidelines Kerry was alluding to, said there is “an enhanced level of due diligence” regarding doing business with Iran, asserting that the US would continue to impose “the most draconian sanctions in our toolkit” on firms that get caught working with the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC).

According to the Washington Free Beacon, tensions have been brewing between State and the Treasury over the Administration efforts to boost Iran’s economy with unprecedented access to US money: should US banks be held accountable if by following Kerry’s urgings they stumble over Szubin’s harsh restrictions. Can the US President allow this kind of yawning gap between the positions of two of his top departments?

The rest of this story is dedicated to the Kerry haters in the crowd… At the Chatham House Prize ceremony in London on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised his award co-recipient, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (who didn’t show up), saying: “I want to make it clear that Javad is a very tough, very capable negotiator, a patriot all the time, who fought hard for his nation’s interests, while always trying to find a constructive way to solve the problems that we both understood were gigantic hurdles for both of our countries, for both of our people, for our politics, and the divisions that exist at home for each of us.”

Yes, one man’s heartfelt praise is another man’s clear example of Stockholm Syndrome, especially in light of Kerry’s praise for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at that same awards event: “I think ultimately to the credit of the ayatollah and Iran, they made a fundamental decision they were willing to submit to the scrutiny and give up that [nuclear] program.”

Give up the program? More like suspend some of it for about four years, according to mainstream media reports.

And while praising those two promoters of global and regional terrorism, Kerry took a last-chance swipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu, for his failed opposition to the nuclear deal. “There were powerful forces,” Kerry said, “that were deeply opposed to this. I mean, it’s not often that a prime minister of another country comes to the Congress, and in the middle of the Congress speaks against the sitting president’s policy. That happened, and you can imagine the forces that were unleashed as a result, and the tension that existed.”

To sum up: In John Kerry’s feverish mind, Iran’s murderous leaders are the good guys, deserving of lavish investments from US banks, even if some of the money goes to Iranian groups that scheme to annihilate the country led by Netanyahu, the bad guy.

Can’t wait for Friday, January 20, when this bad dream officially ends.

David Israel

So Many People Waiting for the Day…

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Video of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/video-picks/so-many-people-waiting-for-the-day/2016/10/30/

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