Yesterday PM Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates held a press conference following their talks. Following Gates’ comments that Israel has every right to defend itself against terrorist bombings and rocket attacks, and Netanyahu’s comment that no “civilized society will tolerate such wanton attacks on its civilians”, Gates made the astonishing and outrageous suggestion that Israel temper its response against Gaza so as not to “risk derailing the course of popular unrest sweeping Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East” (as reported in Ynet News).
This statement, which undoubtedly expresses the viewpoint of the Obama Administration, is remarkable on many levels. First, if the events in the Arabic countries during the last few months have shown anything, it is that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not the core issue driving popular Muslim unrest. Yet the Obama Administration just doesn’t understand this fact and remains determined to make it so. Second, Gates’ comment underscores the absolute disarray of the Obama Administration’s policy toward the Arabic countries. There is no universal support of Muslim popular unrest. What started as throwing Mubarak under the bus has degenerated into a pick and choose of which dictator to depose and which to support. In the scatterbrained world of Obama, Qaddafi is bombed in Libya while King Abdullah is supported in Saudi Arabia. Finally, and most importantly, the notion that the safety of Israeli citizens should be sacrificed to the supposed higher cause of abetting popular Muslim unrest is simply absurd and must be firmly rejected out of hand. As I noted yesterday, it is time to go after Gaza with every weapon in Israel’s arsenal and not stop until the terrorist infrastructure is destroyed.