Obama's Wobbliness Is a Great Danger to Israel

Obama's rhetoric only emboldens terrorists.

Mort Zuckerman
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That is why it was disturbing to read of President Obama's rationale for the formation of Israel as a result of the Holocaust without referring to the 3,000-year-old connection that the Jews have to the Holy Land. It is but a short step from this historically inaccurate perception to conceive of the Jews as the guilty party. It is revealing that when the president speaks about daily humiliation of Palestinian Arabs, he ignores that every Israeli is searched numerous times during the day, even on the way to weddings or bar mitzvahs; that Jewish schoolchildren have to be protected by perimeter fences and armed guards at the schoolhouse gates; that guards are required in shops, cafes, restaurant, movie theatres. Arab villagers, on the other hand, do not need to have guards at their shops, cafes, or restaurants, or for children on the way to school or on hiking and camping trips. Why? Because the Israelis do not target the innocent. The president could have acknowledged the suffering of Israeli victims of Arab terrorism "for more than 60 years" when he talked of the "suffering" and "pain" of Palestinians "for more than 60 years." Even more disturbing was the juxtaposition of his reference to the Holocaust, the deliberate murder of 6 million Jews for the fact that they were Jewish, and his assertion of Palestinian suffering in pursuit of a homeland.

It is extraordinary that a gullible world now regards Israel as rejectionist, yet it is Arab leaders who have rejected everything over the decades—rejected a partition of the land proposed by the Peel Commission in 1936; rejected the United Nations partition plan of 1947; rejected the Israeli offer after the 1967 Six Day War to return all the territories; rejected the major opportunity for peace after the Oslo agreement of 1993; rejected Ehud Barak's proposal for a Palestinian state and President Clinton's compromise proposals; rejected Ehud Olmert's even more generous proposal for a Palestinian state. Sadly, President Obama seems to have drawn a moral equivalent between those who have been prepared to live in peace and those who have chosen war in 1948, 1956, 1973, and 1982, with follow-on campaigns of terrorism after every loss.

Instead of embracing peace, Arab leaders converted the West Bank territory they came to control into a launching pad for suicide bombing, an Intifada that killed more than 1,000 Israelis and ultimately forced Israel to return to the West Bank at great cost and build a security fence against terrorist infiltration. This conduct turned upside down the priorities of the road map for peace, which stated that prior to Israeli concessions the Palestinians would be obliged to demonstrate a commitment to curbing terrorism, eschewing violence and its incitement. No chance, not least because one generation poisons the next.

The hatred of Jews is cultivated throughout the Arab Muslim world without drawing any rebuke from the moral arbiters who are so ready to condemn Israel for the smallest infraction. Hate permeates all points of Palestinian public communications—newspapers, videocassettes, sermons, books, the Internet, television, radio, and, most insidiously, the schoolrooms. The anti-Jewish campaign is so dishonest, so vicious, so persistent that it surpasses that of Nazi Germany in its heyday. New media cable networks like al Jazeera, al Manar, and al Arabiya make the campaign all-pervasive. And the United Nations? It has become a forum not for peace but for fomenting and focusing anti-Israeli propaganda, not for independent inquiry but for the indictment of Israel whenever it seeks to eliminate a terrorist sanctuary, not for enforcing agreements but providing a smokescreen for their violation.

Now comes President Obama to undermine a commitment made by the United States. To appreciate what is at stake, we have to look at the record. Israel of its own volition withdrew settlers and settlements from Gaza, though this evacuation was not required by the road map. The Bush administration acknowledged in return that settlement construction in the West Bank would be permitted within the existing construction line—not new settlement but building to cope with the growth of families. This understanding was confirmed by senior members of the National Security Council and in letters from the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser. Among other things, the letters said, "In the framework of the agreed principles on settlement activity, we will shortly make an effort to better delineate the settlement construction line in Judea and Samaria." Former Sharon aide Dov Weisglass wrote recently reaffirming "that the administration recognized Israel's right under the road map to development from within the existing construction line."