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October 31, 2014 10:16 am

Obama Seeks Confrontation With Israel

avatar by Isi Leibler

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President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House, on September 30, 2013. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House, on September 30, 2013. Photo: Screenshot.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the intensifying global pressures on Israel is “Žto firmly reject any further territorial withdrawals that would put Israel’s security at risk, “Žstating that “Israel will not lose hope for peace, but neither will it cling to false hope.””Ž

He was also forthright about his intention to continue residential construction in Jerusalem, “Žnoting that “all previous Israeli governments have done so. … It is also clear to the Palestinians “Žthat these territories will remain within Israel’s borders in any deal.””Ž

The Obama administration’s response to Israel’s confirmation that it would continue to create “Žhomes in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem was vindictive, brutal, and in stark contrast to “Žits deafening silence on Palestinian incitement.”Ž

The State Department went so far as to accuse Israel of acting “illegally” and in a manner “Ž”Ž”incompatible with the pursuit of peace.” “Ž

In an interview with American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg published in The Atlantic, a senior U.S. “Žofficial referred to Prime Minister Netanyahu as “chickenshit” and described him as “the “Žforeign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most.” “ŽMore than Syrian Bashar Assad, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the “peace-loving” Abbas?”Ž

The curtain drop to the administration’s malice was displayed last week in the Ya’alon “Žimbroglio. In a private conversation earlier this year, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon “Ždisparaged Secretary of State John Kerry’s behavior in relation to the peace process as “Ž”Ž”obsessive” and “messianic.” He made his remarks when Kerry was repeatedly making “Žprovocative statements against Israel and then retracting them. “Ž

As defense minister, Ya’alon is limited in what he can say publicly and the fact that he spoke “Žoff-record is irrelevant if he was subsequently quoted. But he apologized and reiterated the “Žimportance of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Nevertheless, the White House inflated his unofficial “Žremark totally out of proportion.”Ž

To invoke such a vendetta against the defense minister of its most important regional ally, “Žmonths after the event, exposes the pettiness of the Obama administration. That Ya’alon was “Ždenied access to Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Susan Rice is “Žproblematic. But that this was leaked by State Department sources at the end of his visit was “Žodious. To make matters even worse, the information was leaked to the Israeli daily “Žnewspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, whose publisher is engaged in a long-standing crusade to “Ždemonize Netanyahu and his government and which was the source that had initially released “ŽYa’alon’s off-the-record comments.”Ž

Clearly, the White House regarded this as an opportunity to undermine not only Ya’alon’s “Žstanding, but the entire Netanyahu government.”Ž

This is just the latest in a series of vindictive incidents by the Obama administration because “ŽIsrael has dared to reject its diktats. Nothing illustrates President Barack Obama’s “Žcontemptuous attitude toward Israel more than his directive to withhold arms to Israel during “Žwartime because Israel had rejected Kerry’s initiative to engage Qatar as the mediator to end “Žthe Gaza hostilities.”Ž

As virtually every foreign policy initiative by Obama has proven to be disastrous, his “Žrecommendations or directives must be viewed with skepticism. After all, it is we who will “Žhave to live with the consequences.”Ž

This administration adamantly insists that the Israel-Palestine status quo is untenable. Yet it “Žremains silent as Hamas boasts of efforts to restore its terror tunnel network; barely reacts to “Žthe mayhem in Syria and Iraq where close to a quarter of a million people have been butchered; “Žignores the Qatari funding of Hamas and other terrorist entities including Islamic State; “Žfails to castigate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for enabling jihadis to traverse “ŽTurkey’s territory in order to fight in Syria, while standing by and allowing the massacre of the “ŽKurds on his border.”Ž

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas humiliated the U.S. administration by “Žmerging with Hamas without prior consultation. But the U.S. failed to criticize this move, has “Žnot responded to Abbas’ policy of ethnic cleansing by making any future Palestinian state “ŽJudenrein, nor condemned him for executing any Palestinian found selling land to an Israeli. “ŽThe U.S. did not reprimand him for failing to denounce the act of terror in which a baby and a “Žyoung woman were killed last week in Jerusalem. Yet when an Arab teenager was shot to “Ždeath while hurling potentially lethal Molotov cocktails at Israeli automobiles, the U.S. “Žimmediately conveyed its condolences to the family and urged Israelis to initiate an “Žinvestigation.”Ž

Israel, the principal regional ally of the U.S., is the only country consistently facing criticism and “Žhas become the punching bag for the inept Obama administration, even being denounced for “Žopposing a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Only recently, Kerry again “Žconveyed to an Arab audience the absurd allegation that the Arab-Israel conflict fanned ISIS “Žand Islamic extremism. Yet the U.S. assiduously avoids condemning or responding to rogue “Žstates guilty of criminal bloodletting, out of fear of being further humiliated and exposed as “Žlacking leadership. “Ž

It should be noted that there is a broad consensus throughout Israel that the government is “Žjustified in resisting efforts by the U.S. and others to restrict construction in its capital “ŽJerusalem and the major settlement blocs — which were never challenged prior to the Obama “Žadministration.”Ž

There are those who question the wisdom of such an announcement at this time, but if there is “Žone issue for which we should stand united and maintain our rights, it is construction in “ŽJerusalem, whose development must not be dependent on endorsement from other countries.”Ž

The administration’s efforts to demean Israel’s leaders have always been counterproductive. “ŽDespite the initial media frenzy, Israelis have in such circumstances responded by rallying in “Žsupport of their government. And yet, now when the house of Israel should display unity, “Žsome of our politicians are behaving irresponsibly.”Ž

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s public response to the recent “Žpathetic and mean attempt to humiliate Ya’alon implying that the fault for the breakdown in “Žrelations rests with Israel rather than with a bumbling and spiteful U.S. administration were “Žhighly inappropriate. They promote chaos and bring shame upon themselves and the “Žgovernment they purport to represent, conveying the mistaken impression that Israel suffers “Žfrom battered wife syndrome. “Ž

It is also regrettable that, in the face of a vindictive U.S. administration, Opposition Leader “ŽIsaac Herzog failed to suspend political infighting and accused Netanyahu of being “personally “Žresponsible for the destruction of relations with the U.S.” He could have gained respect by “Žstating unequivocally that there cannot be any limits on construction in the Jewish suburbs of “ŽJerusalem. “Ž

Yes, there is constant tension and endless recriminations bouncing between the U.S. “Žadministration and Israel. And according to Goldberg, there is now even the threat that the U.S. “Ž”Ž”may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations.” “Ž

The government has made every effort to avoid aggravating the situation but Israel is a “Žsovereign democratic nation and there are occasions when it must reject unrealistic or “Ždangerous demands from the U.S. “Ž

Netanyahu should be commended for his extraordinary diplomatic balancing act in “Žwithstanding the unreasonable pressure from Obama and Kerry, avoiding outright “Žconfrontations and in so doing, retaining the support of American public opinion and “ŽCongress.”Ž

Israel is a small country and its people are aware that the U.S. is crucial to their survival. But “Ždoes that oblige us to forfeit our self-respect or sovereignty and fawn toward an “Žadministration that repeatedly displays its contempt and humiliates us?”Ž

We should display unity by supporting our prime minister’s policy of rejecting further “Žterritorial concessions until the Palestinian leaders separate from Hamas, engage in “Žnegotiations and display flexibility to enable us to achieve our security requirements. We will “Žnot be denied the right to construct homes in our capital or in the major settlement blocs, “Žwhich will remain within Israel. We seek the support of the United States but we must retain “Žour sovereignty.”Ž

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at “Žileibler@leibler.com.”Ž This article was originally published by Israel Hayom and the Jerusalem Post.

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