Friday, May 29, 2009

All the worries about Obama and Israel are about to become true...

from The Lid
Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama's Call To Stop Settlements - Its Different This Time, MUCH DIFFERENT

In her press conference on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told journalists that the Obama administration "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions."

On Thursday, President Obama stood with the "Moderate" Terrorist Leader Mahmoud Abbas calling for Israel to stop all settlement building including "Natural Growth." As I have pointed out many times before, both President Bush and Secretary of State Rice have made similar statements over the past eight years. After talking to some of my contacts within Israel and those with intimate knowledge of what is happening within Israel, the reports are not good. This time it is different.

When Bush demanded that Israel stop all settlement activity, there was always a wink, wink at the end of it. The Bush administration would never protest too loudly as long as it was "natural growth." Meaning contiguous adding on to existing settlements was OK. So if someone's child got married, they could live in the same area as their parents...etc. My sources tell me that there is no "wink, wink." Obama wants Israel to stop all settlement building PERIOD.

As Gary Ackerman (D-L.I.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, told Stewart Ain of the NY Jewish Week:

“Internal [natrual] growth is not an obstacle — it is life,There is no moral equivalence between settlements and terrorist activity,” he said by phone shortly after leaving a 90-minute meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.

“Bibi mentioned settlements,” Ackerman continued, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “He pointed out that unlike previous administrations that said they would not build them but built them, he is not building new settlements. But he has a position that you cannot stop people on the issue of internal growth.”

Ackerman said he subscribed to the position of a Kadima Knesset member, Otniel Schneller, who was quoted as saying: “I will not lend a hand to a dictate preventing my daughters from giving birth to my grandchildren.”

Sources say that Senator George Mitchell Obama's Mideast envoy and national security adviser Gen. Jim Jones -- see the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, home to some almost 300,000 people, as a key obstacle to getting a peace settlement. Of course this ignores the fact that the Palestinians including President Abbas still reject recognizing Israel as a Jewish State and that President Abbas is the leader of Fatah, who's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade is still committing terrorist attacks within Israel. Even if he wanted to make peace (which he doesn't) Abbas does not have the legitimacy from his own people to sign an agreement. If he did there would have been an agreement with Prime Minister Olmert, who some sources offered Abbas an agreement that was even more favorable than the one Yassir Arafat was criticized for turning down.

Here's the real problem for the Jewish State, in past when Israel has faced problems with a sitting President they have taken their appeal to Congress. But this congress is not likely to go to bat for Israel for two reasons, President Obama is very popular and they are not likely to fight him on this issue especially when you consider that research and anecdotal evidence show the Democratic Party voter is no longer pro-Israel.

So Israel is left with a White House that will continue to pressure her toward one-sided concessions and a Congress that doesn't have the political chops to stand up to the President.

The question is will Netanyahu stand up to Obama? That is still unknown. On one hand the composition of his coalition will demand that he does, but on the other hand one of the major reasons he was voted out of office in 1999 was his poor relationship with Bill Clinton. In fact, Bill Clinton sent James Carville to Israel to help Ehud Barak take the Prime Minister position away from Netanyahu.

Where all this will lead is unknown. What Is known is the era of "good feelings" between an Israel Prime Minister and a US President is ending. And all the worries that many of us had about Obama and the Jewish State, are about to become true.
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