Little by little, it’s becoming clear that the Obama policy toward the territories will be this:
- Minimize Israel’s footprint in the West Bank, preferably to the pre-1967 border,
- Establish a Palestinian state, and
- Police the arrangement — protect Israel from terrorism and the terrorists from Israel — with international troops stationed in the West Bank.
Caroline Glick writes (“Netanyahu’s Grand Coalition“),
People who have been in close contact with Obama’s foreign policy transition team have privately acknowledged that the widespread belief that Obama will move swiftly to put the screws on Israel is fully justified. According to one source who has spent a great deal of time with the transition team since last month’s US elections, Obama’s people are “scope-locked” on Israel.
The source reports that Gen. Jim Jones, Obama’s designated national security adviser, is Israel’s most outspoken critic. The source, who held a two and a half hour meeting with Jones, told his associates that Jones is keen to deploy NATO forces, perhaps including US troops, to Judea and Samaria.
Jones’s plan, which is vociferously opposed by the IDF, would make it impossible for the IDF to carry out counterterror operations in the areas. As a practical matter, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who live in the areas would be imperiled. Just as Hizbullah has used UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon as a shield from the IDF behind which it has rearmed and reasserted control over the border zone, so too a NATO force would facilitate an empowerment of Hamas and Fatah, which would unify, arm and organize free from the threat of IDF counterterror operations.
It should be obvious that the plan cannot possibly work. Here are a few of the reasons:
- The IDF prevents terrorist attacks by intercepting terrorists before they strike, sometimes as they are on the way to their targets. This is made possible by excellent intelligence gathering by the Shabak (Internal Security Service) in the territories. NATO could not possibly do as well, even if they were as motivated, which they will not be. Will they hire local Palestinians to be interpreters and interrogators?
- The natural lack of motivation — why should, for example, Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian or Turkish troops (just a few random examples from NATO’s 26 member nations) risk their lives to prevent terrorism against Israel?
- NATO troops will be at the mercy of suicide terrorists and can be forced to leave at any time. What will happen the first time a truck bomb wipes out a whole platoon of them? What if some of these are Americans?
- Politically it is impossible to make a Palestinian government out of Fatah, which has no support from Palestinians who are not on its payroll. How long will foreign troops have to stay?
As Glick points out there is real danger that the Fatah and Hamas factions — neither of whom is committed to living at peace alongside Israel, regardless of what Fatah spokesmen say in English — will overcome their differences (at least in a working agreement), which would combine the resources of Fatah (arms and cash provided by the international community) with the fanatical commitment to Israel’s destruction that characterizes Hamas.
All this because the Obama team believes that once the ‘peace’ agreement is made, the Arab and Muslim world will end the conflict with Israel — and will have no further reason to oppose the US, which they supposedly do because we support Israel.
It should be obvious that the opposite will occur. Any border issues will immediately become of greatest importance to the Arabs. Demands for ‘return’ of ‘refugees’ will escalate. We will start hearing even more about the ‘plight’ of the Israeli Arabs, trapped in a Jewish state which denies their ‘basic political rights’. Israel will be expected to release every last Palestinian prisoner, regardless of his or her crime. Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement in the Arab and Iranian media will continue, just as it did after the ‘peace’ treaty between Israel and Egypt or the withdrawal from Gaza. Once 1967 has been reversed, the focus will move to 1948.
Israel will make practical sacrifices that will prove deadly for some of her citizens, and peace will be no closer.
And what will the US get from all of this? Iran’s main geopolitical goal — to replace the US as the controlling power in the Mideast — will not go away. Indeed, one of Iran’s stumbling blocks has been US-aligned Israel, and anything that weakens Israel helps Iran.
Terrorists everywhere will be encouraged because it will clear to them that no matter how the US or Israel try to spin the withdrawal from the territories, it was violence and threatened violence that brought it about.
Obama seems to understand the idea that ultimately he is responsible for the outcome of his policies. He is also reportedly a quick study. It is to be hoped that he will come to the understanding that his advisors are leading him down a dangerous path before too much damage is done.