The Obama Israel speech has made him no friends among Muslims and lost him friends in Israel and America, Jewish and Gentile.
Yesterday President Barack H. Obama spoke at the State Department about the Middle East. He said many general things about peace, freedom and democracy. He made excuses for some of his recent decisions. Some of those excuses, like the one for moving into Libya when he has not moved into Syria, sounded lame.
But he also laid down a new Obama Israel doctrine: he called for Israel to give up everything it gained in the Six-Day War of 1967. People everywhere are still reacting in shock and outrage over that remark.
The Obama Israel doctrine
The Obama Israel doctrine is still hard to figure out. He said that any settlement between Israel and something called “Palestine” must include a return to the borders that Israel had with Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967, with some trading of land. He also said that “Palestine” must be contiguous, meaning all in one area. Now the old PLO has its “Authority” in the West Bank, while Hamas controls the Gaza territory. The two are separate. Either they stay separate, or they come together and cut Israel into two separate territories: northern and central Israel (maybe as far south as Tel Aviv/Jaffa), and the Negev.
And what would happen to Jerusalem? A strict reading of the pre-1967 borders would divide Jerusalem and give its Old City, with all its holy sites, back to the Arabs. The last time this happened, the Jordanians demolished the Jewish Quarter. When Israel took East Jerusalem in 1967, they did not demolish the Muslim Quarter, but left it alone. They even accepted the surrender of Arab residents of that quarter—and then told them to go back to their homes and wait for further orders on what life under Israeli control was going to mean for them. Is that going to happen if the two sides divide Jerusalem again? If anyone believes that, let him use the comment space to apply to your editor to buy the Allenby Bridge from him.
Does Obama mean for the two sides to divide Jerusalem? Last year he definitely said no. This year, who knows? The Obama Israel doctrine makes that as clear as mud.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heard the speech as he was getting on his plane to Washington. He said then that his country could never go back to the pre-1967 borders, because the Tzahal couldn’t defend them. Today, in front of reporters at the White House, he said it again.
Chris Stirewalt of Fox News said that the Obama Israel speech will make Netanyahu more likely to take a hard line at home. It might also dry up political donations in America from Jewish groups, even liberal ones. Netanyahu’s chief opponent in the Knesset used the Obama Israel doctrine to support her own stance. That isn’t likely to win her any friends, either. MK Yaakov Katz published the speech that, he says, Netanyahu should make to a joint session of Congress. Katz wants Netanyahu to refuse to give up one square cubit of land. He should remind the Senators and congressmen that the PA is no better than Hamas for teaching schoolboys to hate Jews bad enough to kill them. And while he’s at it, says Katz, Netanyahu should demand that Obama release Jonathan Pollard to him. (Pollard is an American intelligence officer who, during the Reagan administration, took it upon himself to release sensitive information to Israel. For that he landed in prison for life. Every Israeli prime minister since then has asked for him back, to no avail.)
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Fred Lucas quoted several rabbis who called the Obama Israel doctrine “ethnic cleansing.” Rabbi Aryeh Spero said this:
It’s immoral in that basically the president of the United States is asking that 500,000 people who live, work, and raise families around Jerusalem – Jewish families – that they be uprooted, resettled, deported from their homes, have their families broken.
Jews in Israel have about had it. In this Arutz-7 poll, 87.9 percent agree with this statement:
It’s time to stop talking about “peace”!
9.4 percent disagree; 2.6 percent “don’t know.” The same is very large—4127 votes. That makes the poll very powerful, with a slim margin of error.
The Muslims are cool to Obama. Bill O’Reilly said last night that Obama’s overtures to Muslims simply have not “taken.” Indeed, Stirewalt said that on the day after Obama made that speech—in which he also chided Syria for its crackdown against its own people—Syrian authorities cracked down all the more!
Nor does the PA really want peace. They are now about to pay salaries to Palestinians who have landed in Israeli jails for terrorism. And for years, PA textbooks don’t mention Israel, and PA clerics teach their children to grow up to be suicide bombers.
American conservatives have condemned the Obama Israel doctrine almost to a man. Oliver North said that Obama was now “dancing with Arafat’s ghost.” Representative Allen West (R-FL-22) said that this was the worst thing that Obama had done yet on foreign policy, and ignores and distorts the region’s history. (Hat tip: Michelle Cohen, Israeli Frontline.) Bill O’Reilly seconded the warning that the Democratic Party might lose some Jewish money over this issue. (He even said that Obama might lose Florida in 2012, because the four-percent Jewish vote there could decide who carries the State.) He also said that the PA has received a lot of American aid and suggests that they have wasted, or maybe stolen, all or most of it.
The issue goes far beyond 1967 or even 1948. Most people do not realize what the name “Palestine” means. “Palestine” is Latin for Philistine. For that matter, the Arab word for “Palestine” is Filastin, which sounds the same. And what does Philistine really mean in ancient Hebrew? At best, it means “neighbor.” At worst, it means “invader.” The best in-between meaning is “illegal alien.”
The Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians” today are descendants of squatters who moved to the Land of Israel after the Jews reclaimed the desert and swamp that they, the Jews, bought from Turkish absentee landlords. They have nothing to do with the Caphthorite or classic “Philistines” who fought many wars with the Israelite Judges and Kings until the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians conquered the region. They are, in essence, another generation of Philistines—actually a third, after the Caphthorites and the even earlier Avvites with whom Abraham and Isaac dealt.
Obama knows or cares nothing about this history. The Obama Israel doctrine shows this.
It also shows that Obama cares nothing for more recent history. Israel has given many chances to the Arabs for peace. The Palestinians have rejected them all. Egypt and Jordan have treaties with Israel (Syria does not), but the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has already talked about breaking the treaty and going to war. And Israel did not start the 1967 war; its neighbors did. The land that Israel captured in that war is theirs by right of conquest.
The Obama Israel speech has made all-out war more likely, not less. When war comes, the world will blame Israel, and cite the Obama Israel doctrine as “evidence.” Israel should reject the Obama Israel doctrine, ignore all criticism, defend itself, and take whatever territory it needs to ensure the safety of its people—and even the Palestinian people.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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