Will Obama make Israel “an offer it can’t refuse?”

There is a report making the rounds that unnamed “Israeli sources” claim that Barack Obama will shortly “demand a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank,” presumably in return for the US dealing with Iran. A 2014 deadline to establish a Palestinian state is mentioned.

Things like this surface all the time, and mostly they are simply nonsense. It is irresponsible for a journalist, or even a blogger, to publish what is essentially a rumor based on a single report which does not even include a source.

And yet…

There are certainly people in the White House who would think this is a good idea. Everyone knows, they would say, that only details prevent a two-state solution, and the main obstacle to moving forward is right-wing influence on the Israeli PM. Here’s an opportunity, they are saying, let’s take it.

The simple reason that there can be no two-state solution is that it entails the acceptance by the Palestinians of the continued existence of the Jewish state west of the Green Line, and that contradicts the essence of the Palestinian national project. Indeed, one could — I would — go so far as to say that Arabs who would accept a peaceful state alongside Israel as a permanent goal could not properly be called ‘Palestinians’, since the very definition of a ‘Palestinian people’ negates Zionism (but perhaps I digress).

Dennis Ross, who knows as much about ‘peace processing’ as anyone, recently put forward a 14-point plan to bring about a two-state solution. It illustrates two things: one, that Ross possesses a paradoxical combination of intelligence, experience and the inability to see his nose in front of his face; and two, that the concessions it would require from the Palestinians are, as I said above, unthinkable.

Regardless, while a ‘solution’ — that is, an agreement that ends the conflict — is impossible, a coerced Israeli withdrawal in the context of an agreement that pretends to end the conflict is. And that is the danger.

Whether those who would like to force a withdrawal cynically understand that it would be disastrous for Israel’s security and don’t care (or welcome such a disaster), or whether they actually believe it would be a step toward peace is not important. What is important is that they might be able to sell the idea to a public — particularly liberal Jews — that to a great extent continues to believe in the two-state idea. And if they don’t object strongly enough, how could it be stopped?

The confirmation of Chuck Hagel, and particularly the collapse of Sen. Charles Schumer should be instructive. When push comes to shove, today’s liberals — even “strong supporters of Israel” like Schumer are Obama supporters first.

There is another aspect of the situation. That is that the combination of a blow against Iran with a blow against Israel would be a win-win for Sunni Muslim interests in the Middle East: the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey would all like to see Iran defanged and Israel weakened vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Interestingly, Islamist Turkey, the Brotherhood and the Saudis seem to be the people that President Obama finds the most congenial in the region.

Everything seems to be lining up to their advantage. Israel withdraws, the US bombs Iran, Hizballah responds by attacking Israel. Sunni forces, in particular those supported by Turkey, take advantage of the chaos (and the preoccupation of Hizballah) to finish off Assad and take control of Syria. Although the US will support the Palestinian Authority for a time, Hamas — don’t forget, it is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood — will soon get control of Judea and Samaria one way or another.

There are other unpleasant possibilities — US-led UN or NATO troops in Judea/Samaria to ‘protect’ the peace agreement, which will end up protecting Palestinian terrorists against Israel, even the possibility of the IDF and Americans shooting at each other. Sound impossible? Chuck Hagel thought it was a good idea, as did Samantha Power, Obama’s “Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.

So, yes, the rumor about a planned offer that Israel can’t refuse is only a rumor. But it could be a true rumor. We’ll find out very shortly.

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One Response to “Will Obama make Israel “an offer it can’t refuse?””

  1. Robman says:

    I tend to believe the worst when it comes to Obama vis-a-vis Israel (and vis-a-vis just about anything else). I am rarely proven wrong.

    I believe this “rumor” is probably for real. Why? Just look at what Obama did in May of 2011.

    As readers here may recall, Bibi was planning a trip to the U.S., and just before he was to arrive, Obama was to give an address to the Foreign Service.

    Less than a week before this speech by Obama took place, I distinctly remember reading in the WSJ that Obama had no plans to talk about Israel, but instead was only going to talk about the “Arab Spring”.

    Then, while Netanyahu is literally in the air on the way to the U.S. and can’t respond, Obama devotes the last quarter of his speech to Israel in an extremely harsh and one-sided manner. That was Obama’s May 19 speech, the one where he laid out that Israel must withdraw to pre-’67 lines (“with mutually agreed upon land swaps”…but what if the Palis don’t agree?), etc., etc.

    Actually, bit about the pre-67 lines was not the worst part of that speech, although it got the most press. Ideas like that have been kicked about for more than a decade, going back to at least Camp David 2000 under Clinton if not before.

    But Obama required Israel to give up land in her midsection linking Gaza and Judea/Samaria, so that a future Palestinian state could be continguous at the expense of Israel being contiguous. Even the Saudi peace plan didn’t require that. And, Israeli “red lines” such as the status of Jerusalem, right-of-return for Palestinian Arabs to anywhere in Israel were left open to negotiation, but Obama required Israel to make major concrete concessions on the ground in advance anyway, before these would be resolved, and before the Palestinians would be required to so much as recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

    I recount these details above about May of 2011 because since that time, Obama has not, in any way, modified or retracted any of the positions he laid out at that time, during what was probably one of the most audacious foreign policy “sucker punches” in modern history.

    So, today, when I hear about how Obama is now going to Israel in order to “re-set” U.S.-Israeli relations in a positive sense, I detect another “sucker punch” in the making. Obama did not nominate the likes of Kerry, Hagel, or Brennan (especially those latter two) to key foreign/defense policy related positions because he intended to spend the next four years being supportive of Israel.

    No, I strongly suspect that Obama is going to Israel to get in Bibi’s face, and browbeat him with the fact that he’s got four years to go as President of the U.S., with no need to worry about re-election. And, free from the pressures of electoral politics, he can do what he wants on foreign policy, no matter what Congress, the U.S. public, etc., has to say. He’ll demand that Bibi give him what he wants on the Palestinians per his May 2011 speech, or he’ll destroy the U.S.-Israeli alliance, with all that entails, and with the help of a compliant petrodollar whore media, make it look like Israel’s fault.

    Bibi is going to have to do three things:

    - Knock out Iran’s nuke program on his own. Israel has to do this, and there is not going to be any help from the U.S. under Obama.

    - Tell Obama to go screw himself where the Palestinians are concerned – even if that means risking the U.S-Israeli alliance.

    - Learn Chinese.

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