On March 20-21, the world will be treated to President Obama’s first visit to Israel since he was elected in 2009.
Here’s what he will do:
“The President will examine the Iron Dome missile defense system, meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after which they will hold a joint press conference and have dinner together.”
“On Thursday, the President will visit the Israel Museum, where he will see the Dead Sea Scrolls and a technology exhibit put together by Israeli universities. He will then travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He will then return to Jerusalem and give a speech to students at the International Convention Center, which will be followed by a state dinner with President Peres.”
“On Friday, President Obama will lay wreaths at the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin and then meet with an Israeli opposition leader at Yad Vashem, before concluding his trip with a visit to the Church of the Nativity.”
It will generate a torrent of reporting and analysis regarding the content of his speeches and anything else he may say or do. This, however, is a President who lies about everything. The Israeli leaders know that and the Palestinians likely will have even less confidence in whatever he tells them. For decades they have resisted any two-state relationship with Israel, vowing to destroy it whether the threats come from the Palestinian Authority or the Iranian proxy Hamas.
The Palestinians have little support from the nations in the region.
As noted Israeli authority, Barry Rubin, the director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs, recently wrote, “the Palestinian torpedoing of peace between 1993 and 2000 has been forgotten.” There have never been any good faith negotiations by the Palestinians and the more militant Hamas has never ceased from rocketing Israel from its base in Gaza. Israel has long since abandoned its hopes of “land for peace.”
The one thing Obama does not want to do is to let the U.S. get dragged into another war in the Middle East. His predecessor, whom he has finally stopped blaming for his own failures, did not fare well with either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.
The lesson has not been lost on Obama who “led from behind” in Libya only to find himself mired in the Benghazi scandal. The other nations, Tunisia and Egypt are in turmoil as the Muslim Brotherhood struggles to establish itself as their governments. The president of Afghanistan has taken to claiming that the U.S. is working with the Taliban.
In short, the Middle East is a minefield and has been ever since Israel declared its sovereignty in 1948. That event has been blamed for all of its problems, but the problem is Islamic arrogance and intransigence. Israel isn’t going to go away. It was there 3,000 years ago and, by the grace of God, it is there today.
The civil war raging in Syria is a concern for Israel as well as other neighboring states. No doubt Obama will make some reference to the emergence of democracy there, but this has not occurred with any success in Iraq, Egypt, or Tunisia. With the exception of Lebanon that was once a democratic nation Arabs have no experience with democracy and little inclination to make it work. Iran is ruled by a cabal of ayatollahs.
No doubt President Obama will repeat his assertion that the U.S. will never accept a nuclear Iran, but he will. Sanctions and “containment” are not going to work.
“The reality is, however,” says Rubin, “that Obama will continue to deny that his strategy is one of containing Iran but rather of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That will go on until Iran gets nuclear weapons and Obama switches to a containment strategy.”
Rubin writes, “Personally, I don’t believe that Obama will ever attack Iranian nuclear facilities or support such an Israeli operation.” If history is any guide, the Israelis will act unilaterally as they did when they destroyed Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors.
Israel is not only surrounded by nations that have attacked it in the past, but which continue to hate its existence. It also exists in a world where anti-Semitism is widespread, particularly in the nations of the European Union. Ironically, Americans may be the only real friends it has and that is because Americans—Christians—are major supporters of Israel.
The nations of the Middle East have seen, since 9/11, what U.S. intervention has done to them or their neighbors and they don’t like it. Billions spent for nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan has been squandered and, in 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $900 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, including $300 million for rebuilding Hamas-controlled Gaza. More recently, more millions have been pledged to Egypt.
None of it has improved the opinion of the U.S. in the region. None of this has been lost on the current Israeli leadership
Whatever promises Obama makes to the Israeli leaders, whatever he says publicly, will be for the consumption of Americans back home and for those in the region, but the most duplicitous President to ever hold that office will not be trusted there and should not be trusted here.
© Alan Caruba, 2013.