UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Monday, March 3 2013:
*9 minutes ago at 6:51 pm, warning sirens for incoming rockets from Gaza sounded throughout the Chof Ashkelon region of southern Israel.
As you know, Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington, D.C. this morning for a business visit, part of which is to be devoted to a meeting at the White House with President Obama.
Amazingly, it turns out that 4 days ago, last Thursday, a delusional President Obama wasted no time in going on the attack against Netanyahu and Israel. In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama repeatedly took Israel to the woodshed and repeatedly lavished praise on Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians.
All in all, the interview speaks volumes about the mindset of Obama. For the next few days, this blog will discuss the interview in detail by quoting the American president.
Herewith, Part 1:
**1. In response to a question from Goldberg about his own involvement in the process:
Obama: “John reports to me almost weekly about progress and occasionally asks for direction.”
In other words, Obama is not involved in the day by day talks–but gives guidance to Kerry.
**2. In response to a question about Kerry’s comment that should the talks fail, Israel faces a third intifada, international isolation, and boycott:
Obama: “. . . the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept — in part because of changes in demographics; in part because of what’s been happening with settlements; in part because Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue.”
In other words, Obama has bought into the cliche of the “closing window”, has bought into the Palestinian propaganda of demographics and settlements, and has bought into the illusion of a “moderate” Abbas.
**3. In response to a follow-up question about the “moderate” Abbas:
“I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people of Israel.”
In other words, Obama is completely out to lunch. Abbas has repeatedly said that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state–a lack of recognition that has at its core the hope that one day there will be an Israel overrun by so-called Palestinian refugees. In the most basic sense, Abbas refuses to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs.
**—continuing the number 3 response:
Obama: “What we also know is that Israel has become more isolated internationally. We had to stand up in the Security Council in ways that 20 years ago would have involved far more European support, far more support from other parts of the world when it comes to Israel’s position. And that’s a reflection of a genuine sense on the part of a lot of countries out there that this issue continues to fester, is not getting resolved, and that nobody is willing to take the leap to bring it to closure.”
Note the amazing contortions here. Obama threatens Israel with more isolation because “a lot of countries” have a “genuine sense” that nobody is willing to make peace [the perception that countries have is “real”]. And make no mistake about it, when Obama says that nobody is willing to take a leap, he is specifically referring to Israel.
**—continuing the number 3 response:
Obama: “In that kind of environment, where you’ve got a partner on the other side who is prepared to negotiate seriously, who does not engage in some of the wild rhetoric that so often you see in the Arab world when it comes to Israel, who has shown himself committed to maintaining order within the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority and to cooperate with Israelis around their security concerns — for us to not seize this moment I think would be a great mistake.”
Excuse me? Abbas is a “partner on the other side who is prepared to negotiate seriously”? And one “who does not engage in some of the wild rhetoric”? And one who is “committed to maintaining order within the West Bank”?
Where has Obama been? Abbas has not negotiated at all. Abbas has not made one concession for peace. Abbas makes speeches of incitement against Israel, in Arabic, almost every day. Abbas has overseen a completely deteriorating situation in Judea and Samaria where Israelis are attacked day in and day out.
4. In response to an excellent question from Goldberg about the futility of reaching an agreement with Abbas because he is the leader of a weak, corrupt, powerless, and divided “Palestinian entity”. Goldberg’s words: Do you think he could deliver anything more than a framework agreement? Is this the guy who can lead the Palestinian people to say, “OK, no more claims against Israel, permanent peace, permanent recognition?”
Obama: “Look, I think it has to be tested. The question is: What is lost by testing it?”
What is lost by testing it? Is this some kind of sick joke? Why should the Israeli people be expected to suffer the consequences of a “test”? In Obama’s mind, Israelis are guinea pigs.
**—continuing the response with number 4:
Obama: “But here’s what I know from my visits to the region: That for all that we’ve seen over the last several decades, all the mistrust that’s been built up, the Palestinians would still prefer peace. They would still prefer a country of their own that allows them to find a job, send their kids to school, travel overseas, go back and forth to work without feeling as if they are restricted or constrained as a people.”
If the Palestinians prefer peace, why haven’t they accepted the myriad of peace offers that Israel has offered the Palestinians over the decades? And what about Israelis, Mr. President–don’t you think that they would like to send their kids to school without worrying about another rocket exploding on top of their kindergarten? Don’t you think that Israelis would like to go back and forth to work without having to pass through endless metal detectors and security threats?
Tomorrow, we will continue with Part 2 of Obama’s amazingly appalling interview.