by Elizabeth Berney, Esq.
(The article was originally published in 2 parts. Both are reprinted below.)
Part I: “Obama, Ackerman wrong on Israel’s borders”
Two items in last week’s Great Neck News rightfully denounced Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech, focusing on Obama’s call for Israel to retreat to indefensible, nine-miles-narrow pre-1967 borders (with some “swaps”).
Larry Penner’s excellent article rightly condemned Obama’s borders demand and Congressman Ackerman’s shameful praise of Obama’s appalling speech.
North Hempstead Town leaders’ Resolution In Defense of Israel’s Borders aptly noted that Obama’ speech called into question the legitimacy of Israel’s completely lawful present-day borders, and flies in the face of Israel’s historical reality and present-day security needs. It’s good to see (most) people on both sides of the political fence standing up to Obama.
Sadly, there is even more to condemn: Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech demonstrated our president’s longstanding anti-Israel hostility and agenda. This two-part article explores Obama’s agenda and recent speech in depth.
On May 3, 2011, the Hamas terrorist organization and Fatah (the Palestinian Authority’s governing party) signed a unity pact in Cairo, brokered by the new, Muslim-Brotherhood-influenced Egyptian regime. Hamas-Fatah unity means that Israel surely has no “peace partner” to negotiate with. The pact also means that a Palestinian state would surely be a terrorist nation, dedicated to destroying Israel and the West. Both Fatah and Hamas’s charters call for violent destruction of Israel, and Hamas’s charter Article 7 calls for the murder of every Jew.
Yet, on May 19, 2011, before the ink was dry on the treacherous Hamas-Fatah agreement, President Obama pressed for a “contiguous” Palestinian State; exhorted Israel to retreat to indefensible borders – and to then deal with even further Palestinian demands (including a so-called “right of return”); lied about the reason for Palestinian demands at the United Nations; pledged billions of our tax dollars in loan forgiveness and loan guarantees to the disquieting new Egyptian regime; demanded regime change from friendly allies; and failed to confront America’s and Israel’s enemies.
Unfortunately, Obama’s latest push for concessions that endanger Israel’s existence, immediately after the announcement of Hamas-Fatah unity, did not surprise Obama-watchers. In May 2008 (before his presidential election), Obama stated in a New York Times interview that Hamas and Hezbollah have legitimate claims.
During his second day in office (while announcing a pro-Palestinian appointment), Obama stated that the “Arab peace initiative” (also known as the “API” or “Saudi peace initiative”) was “constructive.”
The Obama administration has consistently supported the API anti-Israel game plan, notwithstanding Obama’s occasional bouts of empty language professing concern for Israel’s security. In a Charlie Rose interview (on 1/6/10), Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, stated that “full implementation of the Arab peace initiative” is “the objective set forth by the president [Obama] and the Secretary of State.”
At a March 2009 Brookings Institute diplomatic conference, Mitchell stated that the API will be incorporated into the Obama administration’s Middle East policy and marketed by the U.S. State Department. The White House press release about Obama’s April 2, 2009 London meeting with Saudi King Abdullah stated: “The President reiterated his appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s leadership in promoting the Arab Peace Initiative.” During his June 2009 Cairo speech, Obama called the API “an important beginning.”
What is the API? In a nutshell, Israel gives up everything in exchange for an impossible-to-enforce promise of “normal relations” (not peace or recognition). The API requires Israel to retreat to indefensible pre-1967-war borders (sound familiar?), resulting in displacement of 600,000 Jews from their homes; grants 4 million Arabs who never lived in Israel “rights of return” to live in Israel and overrun the country (also sound familiar?); insists that Palestinians will not be settled in Arab countries; grants a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem; and requires Israel to withdraw from the strategically essential Golan Heights, thereby displacing another 30,000 Jews and rendering Israel’s northern border indefensible. In sum, the API is a plan for Israel’s destruction.
(Another variant is Yasser Arafat’s “plan of phases.” On September 13, 1993, the very same day that Arafat and Yitzchak Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn to celebrate the Oslo accord – which was supposed to bring Palestinian-Israeli “peace in our time” – Arafat declared in Arabic, in a pre-taped interview on Jordanian television (broadcast into Israel): “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do it in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”)
Obama’s actions have been consistent with his “objective of full implementation of the API.” During Operation Cast Lead, Obama refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend herself from Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza. Just days after taking office, Obama issued an Executive Order authorizing payment of $20.3 million for “migration needs” of “Gaza conflict victims.” (Presidential Determination 2009-15, Jan. 27, 2009)
He thus declared Palestinians and Hamas the victims, and used our tax dollars to bring Hamas-connected individuals from Gaza to America. This was followed by Obama pledging $900 million of our tax dollars to Gaza (on 2/23/09); partially lifting sanctions on Syria; sending the Palestinian Authority almost a billion of aid each year; constantly pressuring Israel not to build homes in Jerusalem or the West Bank and to withdraw from the Golan; vowing during his April 2009 speech in Turkey to pursue the goals of a Palestinian state and Syrian-Israeli agreement; refusing to confront Iran’s leadership; refusing to allow a vote on Iranian sanctions for a year; authorizing American training of the Palestinian police force (training which has been used to murder Israelis); exhorting Israel and American Jewish leaders that Israel has not taken real steps for peace and that they should “search their souls about whether Israel is serious about peace,” while refusing to hold the Palestinians accountable for their intransigence and incitement; failing to condemn Muslim slaughters of Christians; blaming Israeli “occupation” for causing Palestinian “suffering” during his 2009 Cairo speech; calling Israeli settlements “illegitimate” during his Cairo and U.N. speeches; and conditioning continuing U.S. support for Israel on Israel’s recognition of supposed legitimate Palestinian claims during Obama’s U.N. speech – to name a few.
Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech followed the same API game plan. The speech was even worse than many people realize. For instance, Obama did much more than simply imply that unsecure pre-1967 lines should be the framework for negotiating future borders. Obama said that the “United States” believes that the “result” of negotiations should be the (indefensible) 1967 borders with some swaps. In other words, Obama declared that such borders are U.S. policy – an extreme anti-Israel position.
“Pre-1967 borders” refers to the 1949 Armistice lines, where the war stopped after six Arab countries invaded Israel and seized existing Jewish homes and synagogues and historic Jewish areas, including land promised to Israel by the Balfour Declaration and San Remo conference. Obama’s position reverses all prior U.S. policy. Former President Bush’s 2004 letter to former Israeli prime minister Sharon declared: “[I]t is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.” President Bush’s letter also noted that such a retreat was not feasible due to the presence of “major Israeli population centers” beyond the 1949 lines.
Alarmingly, Obama’s May 19 speech also characterized Israel’s territorial retreat and the establishment of a Palestinian State as a first step, which would not be enough: issues of Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem would still be outstanding and then require resolution. Obama’s statement gave credibility to Palestinian claims to Jerusalem and a so-called Palestinian “right of return” to overrun all of Israel. Obama’s proposed phased steps are also reminiscent of the API and Yasser Arafat’s “plan of phases” to destroy Israel.
(Obama’s Orwellian phrasing of a phases plan was: “Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair.”)
It would of course be suicidal for Israel to “move forward now” on giving up more territory, retreating to indefensible borders and permitting a terrorist Palestinian state, and to then have to contend with millions of Palestinians also demanding to move to homes in Israel that they never lived in, thereby destroying Israel. Obama’s apparent support for such phased concessions and a Palestinian “right of return” reverses prior U.S. policy.
To be continued next week.
Part II: “Obama Wrong In Mideast Speech”
This is the second part of a two-part article about Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech: how the speech was even worse than many people realize, and demonstrated Obama’s longstanding anti-Israel agenda and hostility.
Part 1 last week described how Obama long ago revealed his anti-Israel agenda to those who understand “Middle-East-speak,” by repeatedly voicing his support for the so-called “Arab Peace Initiative.” Obama’s Middle East special envoy put it succinctly: “full implementation of the Arab peace initiative” is “the objective set forth by the president [Obama] and the Secretary of State.” (1/6/10 interview)
The aim of the “Arab peace initiative” is not peace; it is the destruction of Israel. The initiative doesn’t even promise peace; in exchange for giving up everything, Israel merely receives an unenforceable promise of “normal relations.” The Arab Peace Initiative calls for Israel’s retreat to indefensible pre-1967 borders (the 1949 Armistice lines where the fighting stopped after six Arab countries invaded Israel, seizing Israeli land); a so-called “right of return” for millions of Arabs who never lived in Israel to go live in Israel and overrun the country; a Palestinian State whose capital is Jerusalem; and evicting hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes, among other things. The API is actually akin to Yasser Arafat’s infamous “plan of phases”: namely, take whatever you can through negotiations, and then go to war to completely wipe out Israel.
I also listed some of Obama’s numerous anti-Israel statements and policies last week. I then began describing how Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech follows his anti-Israel “Arab peace initiative” (“API”) agenda.
Like the API, Obama called for Israel’s retreat to indefensible pre-1967 borders. Obama’s wording also made such a retreat official U.S. policy, which is unprecedented.
Like the API, Obama’s speech called for the establishment of a Palestinian state (just after the Hamas-Fatah unity pact – which makes it certain that any such state will be a terrorist state committed to Israel’s destruction).
Also like the API, even the retreat to indefensible borders and establishment of a Palestinian State was insufficient. Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech also called for Israel to retreat first (to “move forward now on the basis of territory” so that Palestinians would “know the territorial outlines of their state”) and to then face additional Palestinian demands for Jerusalem and a “right of return” to overrun and destroy all of Israel.
Such absurd “it’s never enough” concessions were never American policy in the past. America’s prior policy, outlined in former President Bush’s 2004 letter to former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, was that any establishment of a Palestinian state must be in the context of a “final” agreement, and must settle Palestinian refugees in their own state, not in Israel. In other word, the Palestinians must accept that there is no so-called Palestinian “right of return” that permits them to destroy Israel. (Of course, after the Hamas-Fatah pact, and continued Palestinian incitement and terrorism, further Israeli territorial retreat and a Palestinian state make no sense at all.)
Obama’s May 19 speech also called for a “contiguous” Palestinian state. A “contiguous” Palestinian state would cut Israel into two separate pieces. In other words, Israel – America’s ally – will no longer be “contiguous” in order to make way for a contiguous Hamas-Fatah terrorist state!
In his May 19 speech, Obama also falsely claimed that Palestinians were “pursuing their interests at the United Nations” because of growing “impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one.” Obama’s statement failed to place the blame for the absence of a peace process where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian leadership.
In truth, the Palestinian Authority is seeking a state from the United Nations in order to avoid making peace with Israel. Palestinians admit that U.N. recognition will be a springboard for “lawfare” (war through abusive lawsuits) and “phases plan” actions against Israel. In a May 16, 2011 New York Times Op Ed, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas wrote that U.N. recognition would enable Palestinians to pursue “human rights” claims against Israel in numerous international legal courts, and to continue to pursue “a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194.”
The latter item refers to a Palestinian “right of return” to all of Israel, pursuant to the Palestinian one-sided misinterpretation of U.N. Resolution 194, which, it so happens, every Arab country voted against. (An honest implementation of Resolution 194 would allow Jews to return to the homes Jews had to flee from in East Jerusalem and throughout the Middle East.)
By contrast to UN action, a negotiated peace (which the Palestinians have studiously avoided) would require the Palestinians to finally recognize the Jewish State.
Obama’s statements also ignored the long history of broken Palestinian promises. In five written Palestinian-Israeli agreements, commencing with Oslo I in 1993, Israel made enormous territorial concessions, in exchange for promises that the Palestinian Authority would end violence and incitement against Israel, and turn over terrorists and illegal weapons.
Israel kept its end of the bargain, conveying half the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, while the Palestinian Authority violated every one of its obligations. The Palestinian Authority repaid Israeli generosity by continually inciting terror and deadly intifadas against Israel, which killed and injured thousands of Israeli civilians.
Obama’s pledge in his May 19 speech of $1 billion of loans forgiveness plus $1 billion of loan guarantees to the new Egyptian government was another outrage. In its short existence, the new Egyptian regime has already been punctuated by: wholesale murders of Christian Copts; increased arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza (for use against Israel); the opening of the Egypt-Gaza border; obvious involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood; the brokering of the Hamas-Fatah pact; potential Egyptian president Muhammed el-Baradei’s April 4, 2011 threat to declare war on Israel, and more. Shouldn’t American promises of assistance at the very least be conditioned upon better behavior?
On May 19, Obama also explicitly demanded that leaders of friendly regimes (Yemen and Bahrain) must step down, but failed to insist that the leaders of enemy regimes Syria and Iran must do so. Obama also failed to mention Iran’s mounting nuclear threat or effective counter-measures.
Obama’s horrendous May 19 speech again demonstrated our president’s anti-Israel agenda and lack of regard for other American allies. Hopefully, everyone who cares about Israel and/or America’s relationships with our allies – Republicans and Democrats alike – will remember this when it counts.
(Author’s Note: This article was first published in the June 17 and June 24, 2011 Great Neck News, New Hyde Park Courier and Williston Times. You may reprint it if you mention the newspapers where it was first published. Please also mention my website. Liz)