Obama wants Mideast regime change in ... Israel....
What's interesting about Abbas's hardline position, however, is what it says about the message that Obama's first Middle East steps have sent to Palestinians and Arab governments. From its first days the Bush administration made it clear that the onus for change in the Middle East was on the Palestinians: Until they put an end to terrorism, established a democratic government and accepted the basic parameters for a settlement, the United States was not going to expect major concessions from Israel.
Obama, in contrast, has repeatedly and publicly stressed the need for a West Bank settlement freeze, with no exceptions. In so doing he has shifted the focus to Israel. He has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud. "The Americans are the leaders of the world," Abbas told me and Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt. "They can use their weight with anyone around the world. Two years ago they used their weight on us. Now they should tell the Israelis, 'You have to comply with the conditions.' "
Abbas and his team fully expect that Netanyahu will never agree to the full settlement freeze -- if he did, his center-right coalition would almost certainly collapse. So they plan to sit back and watch while U.S. pressure slowly squeezes the Israeli prime minister from office. "It will take a couple of years," one official breezily predicted. Abbas rejects the notion that he should make any comparable concession -- such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, which would imply renunciation of any large-scale resettlement of refugees.
Instead, he says, he will remain passive. "I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements," he said. "Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life." In the Obama administration, so far, it's easy being Palestinian.
Makes sense. And Obama was true to his word. Last October another Jackson Diehl column said it all, as I then posted on LTFC, reproduced in pertinent part here:
Why did Israeli-Palestinian talks break down?
Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl gave us the answer, via words spoken on Israeli TV by Palestinian Authority PM Mahmoud Abbas, no less:
So why does Abbas stubbornly persist in his self-defeating position? In an interview with Israeli television Sunday night, he offered a remarkably candid explanation: "When Obama came to power, he is the one who announced that settlement activity must be stopped," he said. "If America says it and Europe says it and the whole world says it, you want me not to say it?"
The statement confirmed something that many Mideast watchers have suspected for a long time: that the settlement impasse originated not with Netanyahu or Abbas, but with Obama -- who by insisting on an Israeli freeze has created a near-insuperable obstacle to the peace process he is trying to promote.
A standoff between Obama and Netanyahu over settlements paralyzed Middle East diplomacy for more than a year, while Abbas happily watched from the sidelines. Netanyahu finally announced a 10-month, partial moratorium on new settlement construction. In July, following a meeting at the White House, it looked like the U.S. and Israeli leaders had overcome their differences. Obama said nothing about settlements afterward, and instead urged Abbas to begin direct talks with Netanyahu.
Yet to the surprise of both Netanyahu and some in his own administration, Obama reintroduced the settlement issue. First in a press conference and then in his September address to the UN General Assembly, he called on the Israeli government to extend the settlement moratorium, which expired on Sept. 26. In doing so, he made it impossible for Abbas not to make the same demand.
2011 UN Session: Expect Politics, Not Law. So what's will happen this fall, when the Palestinians ask the UN to grant them statehood with the 1967 lines? Michael Rubin sees baleful consequences if the UN reocgnizes a Palestinian state with the 1967 Green Line borders. I think this will not happen in 2011, because the politics of Obama in re-election mode undermining Israel are too risky.
Statehood will require the US to stand down and not exercise its Security Council veto to block legal creation of the Palestinian state. The US can block this with its SC veto. The General Assembly can still vote, but its vote would have political effect, and not create a legal entity. It would, of course, greatly damage Israel's prestige.
But in 2012, things could get much worse....
2012 UN Session: A Legal Arab Palestine?. Comes the 2012 UN session, which will stretch past America's November 6 Presidential Election date. At that point, if Obama wins a second term he is free to step aside and let a Palestinian statehood resolution pass the UN Security Council. If Obama loses, he is equally free to do so. Obama, in either case, will be unbound. Either way, Obama, who truly hates Israel, can get his wish, making Israel an illegal aggressor occupying the territory of an legally-created UN state.
What would be the consequences, assuming Obama allows this?
That state will include so-called East Jerusalem, which includes the Wailing Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine. No doubt, as partial cover, the SC resolution will mandate open Jewish access to the Wall, "policed" by the UN. The UN, of course, did not lift a finger from 1948 to 1967 to enforce Jewish access to the Wall. The UN, which has allowed Hezbollah to accumulate at least 40,000 rockets in southern Lebanon and to takeover the Lebanese government, will not honor its obligation.
Expect a full Palestinian right of return to East Jerusalem be part of such a state, both Hamas & the Palestinian Authority having once again flatly rejected any deal that does not include such a right, which would flood Israel with Arabs and end its existence as a Jewish state. (Earth to Obama: What part of "Hell no!" do you not understand?....) Israel's Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, explains why Israel is an ally of special value to the US. Somebody should explain this to The One.
And the result, predictably, will be a major Mideast War. And no one, not the old or new Congress nor the incoming President, can stop this; only Obama can.
A GOP successor can at best declare that the US will not pay its dues, but unless the Europeans go along our 22 percent contribution alone can easily be replaced. Under the 2011 UN formula the top ten contributors provide 72 percent of UN funds; subtracting China & Mexico leaves 2/3 of UN funding coming from the US, Japan, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain. If these eight contributors withdraw the UN financial support they provide, petrodollar states can easily step in. But such would be the UN's demise. Thus Europeans will never de-fund. Put simply, Western Europeans would rather save the UN than save Israel. On Easter Weekend Palestinian police killed a Jew at a Holy site on the West Bank; the world yawned.
We could threaten to block everything in the Security Council, but this kind of tough stance will be very hard for even a GOP administration can politically sustain. This is especially so given that mainstream media, too busy looking for anti-Muslim bias to worry about rising domestic anti-Semitism, will shill for the UN's action, by blaming Israel for not making concessions to make an allegedly available grand bargain. That the Palestinians were never prepared to make any concessions from their maximalist position will be thrown into Orwell's Memory Hole.
To appreciate the vast incoherence, even perversity of Team Obama's Mideast mess, read Barry Rubin's takes on: (a) how Obama wrecked the "peace process" at Israel's expense, repudiating several prior administration commitments; (b) how Obama's Libya laxity leaves events to caprice & damaging Team Obama; and (c) how Obama's "both sides" equivocation emboldens the Syrian regime to crack down on protesters (as was the case in 2009 with Iran--newly-hit with another cyber-attack), albeit Fouad Ajami thinks change inevitable in Syria. The WSJ reports that Team Obama is considering stronger sanctions against Syria, as the Washington Post editors excoriate the President for "shameful U.S. inaction on Syria's massacres" in recent weeks.
Bottom Line. Israel's survival as a secure Jewish state and US ally is in mortal peril. And President Obama's Mideast foreign policy credibility is, equally, in mortal peril.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, 9/11, National Security, Terrorism, Foreign Policy, UN, Conservative Politics