The Obama Administration has joined the schoolyard bullies:
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Sunday that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, The Associated Press reported.
Panetta added Israel must restart negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey.
Panetta made the comments as he was traveling to Israel, saying the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East makes it critical for the Israelis to find ways to communicate with other nations in the region in order to have stability.
“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge,” AP quoted Panetta as having told reporters traveling with him. “But the question you have to ask: Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength.” — (my emphasis)
Let’s compare the implications of Panetta’s remarks to reality:
“Israel must restart negotiations.” Why is the onus on Israel? It was the Palestinian Authority (PA) that broke off negotiations and then violated the agreements it had signed by seeking UN sanction for a unilateral declaration of statehood. It was the PA that insisted on one precondition after another, and Israel that agreed to talk without preconditions.
Making Israel give in to PA demands on the grounds that then there will be productive negotiations has exactly the opposite effect. The Arabs pocket the latest concession and demand more. Negotiations are never ‘productive’ because the PA will never agree to end the conflict.
“Israel must work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey.” This is Kafkaesque. A terrorist attack which killed 7 Israelis was launched from Egyptian territory, Egyptian soldiers or police murdered at least one of the victims and were themselves killed when the Israelis returned fire. Israel apologized — for self-defense — and had its embassy destroyed, and barely avoided having security officers who were trapped inside ripped to bloody bits. Now Israel needs to “work” to restore relations? With a country that while allegedly ‘at peace’ with it, continues its vicious incitement against Jews and Israel?
In fact, why hasn’t the US suggested to Egypt that in return for the billions in aid it gets every year, maybe it should stop being the biggest purveyor of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate in the world? This has been going on for decades.
And Turkey — whose leader has systematically tried to humiliate Israel since he took power almost 10 years ago, whose campaign climaxed with the intentional provocation of a bloody incident in the Mediterranean, who has gone as far as to threaten acts of war against Israel when even the usually-pliant UN said that Israel was justified in its actions — what kind of self-abnegation does the Obama Administration expect from Israel and what makes them think it would make Turkey change course, when the present one is so deliberate?
“Israel is isolating itself.” No, Israel has bent over backwards to have good relations — with the Palestinians, with Egypt, with Turkey. Any isolation is being imposed by those who — pay attention, here it comes — do not want a solution to the conflict between Israel and its neighbors that leaves a Jewish state in existence. Can anything be more obvious?
Do Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah want coexistence? Of course not, the evidence is overwhelming that their goal is to destroy Israel. Does Hamas want coexistence? Don’t make me laugh. Does the Turkish Islamist AKP regime want good relations? Of course not, the more they hurt Israel, the better a candidate for leadership of the Muslim Middle East they will be. Do the Egyptian Islamists and nationalists want good relations? Of course not — they, too, want to prove that they are qualified to lead the Muslim world, and they need someone to blame for the economic catastrophe that is already brewing.
The Europeans (although there are exceptions) play along. They have trade relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc. — whose regimes, incidentally, are at each others throats about every imaginable issue other than the need to end the Jewish state. And the Europeans have good, solid Israel-hating — Jew-hating, too, if the truth be told — constituencies at home, and it is not all due to Muslim immigrants, either.
So what about the Obama Administration? What does it get for joining in with the scapegoating of Israel, along with the rest of the schoolyard bullies? Somebody should ask them, because I am giving up on looking for economic and geopolitical explanations.