Well, the Obama administration has found its pound of flesh to demand of Israel for its making Joe Biden look like an idiot. (Like the old Soviet-era joke, the punishment is for more along the lines of “divulging a state secret.”) They want Israel to make some “good faith gestures” to the Palestinians to make up for their recent “provocations” that have hindered the peace process.
So, what horrible, warlike things have the Israelis done of late?
Well, the big one was announcing the construction of 1,600 new units of housing in Jerusalem, the Israeli capitol city. But just as provocative (but not coinciding with Biden’s visit) was the announcement that it considered the Tomb of the Patriarchs a highly significant part of their history and cultural heritage, and the rebuilding of a synagogue destroyed by Jordan in the 1948 war. All three of these provocations have been greeted with dire threats from the Palestinians.
Hmm… I’m a bit puzzled. What’s so provocative about a government providing for its citizens and showing respect for its history? Those are some of the legitimate functions of a government.
Unless, of course, you’re committed to exterminating an entire culture. Stifling their growth and destroying their landmarks — that’s the key to eliminating their future and erasing their past. But I’m certain that’s just a coincidence.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have been demonstrating their commitment to the peace process by keeping to hold hostage Gilal Shalit, a kidnapped Israeli soldier, and firing rockets into Israel — the last round killing a Thai worker. And, of course, that’s in addition to the routine threats of genocide against Israel.
Oh, and let’s not forget naming a traffic circle after Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who slaughtered a busful of innocent people — including 13 children. Well, that’s not fair — they did “cancel” the naming on the day Biden was in town, holding the dedication the day after. Isn’t that nice.
I’d be intrigued to see the Obama administration demand a “good faith gesture” or two from the Palestinians. If they obliged, that’d be a first – I don’t recall the Palestinians EVER making any kind of “good faith gesture” or actually keeping a promised concession to Israel. No, the “rules” of the situation require Israel to make all the gestures and concessions, and the Palestinians to keep finding excuses to not do anything remotely peaceful and continue attacks until Israel hits back — which promptly “wrecks” the entire peace process, which can only be restarted by Israel making more concessions and good faith gestures.
Nah, that’s too cynical. At some point in the past 40-odd years, the Palestinians must have done SOMETHING that demonstrates their interest in peace. Somebody toss me a bone here.
The Obama administration is leaning on Israel here for the simplest and most cynical reasons: because it can. Because it knows that it has a far better chance of wringing concessions and gestures out of Israel than the Palestinians, and therefore can at least look like it’s doing something.
It’s a common theme in their foreign policy — one I intend to explore at a later date. Suffice it to say that it’s as short-sighted as it is disastrous.
If the Obama administration was the least bit interested in making real progress in the Middle East, they’d lean on the Palestinians to show that they are sincerely interested in peace. But that’s not gonna happen, because they simply aren’t. They’ve made tremendous strides from belligerence, and why should they give up on a winning strategy?
It’s time to change the rules, but that requires a courage and integrity the Obama administration simply lacks.
Author’s note: added paragraph about Dalal Mughrabi after publication)