Murders in Israel: What President Obama Can Learn From Britain’s David Cameron
Late on Monday afternoon as the sun cast shadows on the rolling Hebron Hills, it was revealed that Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel had been slain by Arab terrorists.
It was perhaps the worst possible outcome to the heart-wrenching kidnapping saga that had gripped Israel and her friends around the world since the boys disappeared on June 12th. And world leaders were quick to express solidarity with the State of Israel and the victims’ families.
But while generally the United States is viewed as Israel’s greatest friend, it was British Prime Minister David Cameron’s response to the news that stood head and shoulders above most others, particularly that of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Obama and Cameron’s comments started out more or less the same.
Obama began, “On behalf of the American people I extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frankel – who held Israeli and American citizenship.”
Cameron said, “I am deeply saddened by the news that the bodies of the 3 Israeli boys kidnapped on 12 June have been found this evening.”
Obama continued, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”
Cameron then said, “This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers.”
And at that point they parted ways.
Obama issued a directive: “I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.”
Cameron on the other hand declared, “Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.”
So who exactly was Obama addressing when he called for restraint? Was he calling on Hamas, the terror group that has already done its worst? Of course not, make no mistake, his words were directed at Israel.
But here Israel is the seriously aggrieved party and the country’s security cabinet is weighing options for its response. Israeli officials are already speculating that it may come in the form of a Gaza operation on the scale of 2012’s Pillar of Defense.
One thing that security officials agree on is that Israel must respond and it must do so decisively if it is to reestablish its deterrence, secure its citizens, and keep Hamas in check.
Cameron’s words reflect a far better understanding of Israel’s needs at this time. The democratically elected government of the Jewish state is entitled to weigh and execute whatever response it sees fit.
Israel needs to know that its allies will stand by it unflinchingly as it takes the steps needed to secure the future safety and wellbeing of its citizens, and that is precisely what Cameron promises.
I can’t say what is behind Cameron’s commendable position, if it is deliberate, or if he will even stick to it.
Has the rampant carnage wrought by ISIS in Iraq after gains hard earned with the blood of British troops finally led Downing Street to a newfound appreciation for the Islamist challenges that Israel faces? Has Britain come to appreciate that the proponents of the Caliphate, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah are all sides of the same coin?
Whatever the case, credit is due.
Thank you David Cameron. Mr. Obama, please pay attention.