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September 27, 2016 7:21 am

Eight Years Later, Obama Has Learned Nothing About the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute

avatar by Mitchell Bard

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President Barack Obama. Photo: Facebook.

President Barack Obama. Photo: Facebook.

President Obama’s failure to learn anything in the last eight years about the Palestinian-Israeli dispute was evident in his final speech to the UN General Assembly. In the mere 31 words that he devoted to the subject, he laid bare his ignorance: “Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel,” he said. “But Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”

Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it? Both sides have responsibility for the conflict — except they don’t.

First, the Palestinian side of the equation was severely understated. Yes, the Palestinians must reject incitement, but they must also actively prevent terrorism. They must stop using US and EU taxpayer money to pay terrorists and their families. Yasser Arafat said he recognized Israel, but it has been clear since that 1993 letter to Yitzhak Rabin that the Palestinians do not accept the legitimacy of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.

Furthermore, the Palestinians are unwilling to make any territorial compromises that would lead to a two-state solution. They continue to show support for the strategy whereby they would accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza only as a first stage in the eventual liberation of all of “Palestine” — a goal reflected in Palestinian media, maps, crossword puzzles, textbooks, Fatah insignias, and every other venue one can name.

Worse, the possibility of a political solution to the conflict has been eliminated not by Israeli actions, but by the ascendancy of radical Islam — best represented by Hamas — in Palestinian society. The Islamists, who have co-opted the “secular” Palestinian leadership, will never accept the existence of a Jewish state in what they consider the Muslim heartland, nor will they tolerate a situation whereby Jews “rule” over Muslims.

Obama still fails to see these truths. In fact, he reinforces the Palestinians’ bad behavior by continuing to make excuses for them and holding Mahmoud Abbas out as a partner for peace even though the Palestinian “president” has rejected Obama’s calls for negotiations for nearly eight years. In fact, there is no better example of how weak the US has become under Obama than the fact that a pipsqueak like Abbas, who is totally dependent on international aid for his survival, has repeatedly defied Obama by refusing to negotiate and going around the president and the Israelis to the UN in search of international sanctions to impose Palestinian terms on Israel.

President Obama also continues to make the sophistic comparison between Palestinian terrorism and Jewish settlements. He seriously believes that Jews establishing homes on land that has been part of Jewish history for thousands of years is equivalent to Palestinians murdering Jews. Even as rockets are falling on Israel, bombs are exploding, and people are being shot, stabbed, and run over, Obama finds fault only with Israel.

In fact, with all the violence in the Middle East, and now in the United States, it is mind-boggling that the White House and State Department remain obsessed with publicly chastising Israel over its housing policies.

Public opinion on the further development of West Bank communities is very controversial in Israel; however, in the absence of any Palestinian peace initiative, opponents have little ground to stand on. Left-wing critics in the US and Israel whine about the failure of the political system to produce a government that supports their minority views, ignoring the reality that the failure of prior peace efforts are responsible for the shift of Israeli voters to the right.

More than 20 years have passed since the Oslo agreement raised hopes for an end to the conflict. Yet Palestinian violence never ceased and the territorial compromises Israel made did not lead to pace. When Israel completely withdrew settlers and soldiers from Gaza and gave the Palestinians an opportunity to start to build the infrastructure of a state, they demonstrated the Israeli right was correct in predicting that the Palestinians would pocket any concessions, seek more without any reciprocity, and escalate terror. If the “occupation” ended tomorrow, the conflict would continue and Israelis would be in more serious danger because the terrorists would be unencumbered, and have the capability to threaten Israel’s airports, population centers, industrial heartland, and capital.

A case can be made against the expansion of settlements; for example, that it hurts Israel’s position internationally; that it diverts military resources away from more critical threats; that it is costly at a time when money might be better spent on domestic needs; that it makes a political solution — with the big caveat that the Palestinians must someday want one — more difficult; and that it puts Israel in a conundrum whereby it will be increasingly difficult to remain a Jewish and democratic state as the proportion of the Palestinian population becomes a significant minority, if not the majority, between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Still, history cannot be ignored. No settlements existed prior to 1967 and there was no peace. The Palestinians were unwilling to make peace even when settlers numbered in the thousands. They were unwilling to stop the violence when Israel evacuated Gaza. Today, with a settler population of 350,000, the Palestinians can denounce Israel all they want, but they have only themselves to blame. Their chance for statehood will continue to dissipate the longer they refuse to negotiate and compromise. Today, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to relocate 50,000 or more Jews from outlying settlements if Palestinians agreed to a two-state solution. When the number of settlers grows, as expected, to 500,000 over the next several years, territorial compromise will probably be impossible.

There’s little hope for Obama to figure this out in his last months, and we can only hope he does not make the situation worse — as he has in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. It would be wiser for him to focus on those debacles and the continued rise of radical Islam. I’m not terribly optimistic given the candidates, but at least there is hope that the next president will have a better grasp of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and not repeat the mistakes of the last eight years.

Dr. Mitchell Bard is the author/editor of 24 books including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews and the novel After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

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  • herbcaen

    build, baby build

  • flowerplough

    Obama learns nothing because he’s convinced he already knows everything, and he’s been, for decades and by choice, surrounded by people who keep propping him up and telling him so.

    • rulierose

      including the entire media, which assured us he was not only smart, he was probably the smartest president ever in the history of the world.

  • Tony Trenton

    OBummer, Is a great Orator, No doubt. He is the perfect ‘Muslim sleeper agent’

    He was educated as a Muslim during his formative Years in Indonesia!!!

    OBummer is a ” Flim-Flam Man” A ‘Grifter’ of the first water.

    Hilary is his ‘Grifter buddy’ !!!

  • Myron Robinson

    And Jewish Americans still want to vote for the Democrats (Clinton). Obama was a disaster for American foreign Policy in the Middle East and it is doubtful if Clinton will be any better. Certainly Trump can do no worse.

  • henrytobias

    What’s the saying about ‘none so blind’?

  • tiki

    To make a long story short………..

    There is no Palestine and no occupied Palestinian lands!

    Judea & Samaria have been Jewish lands for thousands of years with only a hiatus from 1948-1967 when it was occupied by by the Jordanians (with active help from the Brits) and the Jews living there were expelled or murdered.

    **How the Jordanians acquired ‘their’ country is another injustice in history as the whole area was supposed to become the State of Israel under International Law but was illegally altered by the Brits when they decided to take away 75% from the land and hand it over to the Arabs.

    Therefore there will only come a just solution for the Arabs living in that territory when the lies will stop!

    • ReformSchool

      Don’t hold your breath awaiting Lamestream Media to parrot history.

  • YJ Draiman

    Obama’s relations with Israel and other Nations r11

    Obama has no credibility; or respect from many of the International community. Obama has no credibility; he has the least experience in real politics. Obama is the worst president the U.S. has ever had.
    Obama has alienated many nations and has caused foreign policy damage that is costing the American taxpayer trillions. His decisions are also costing numerous American lives in vain. Obama’s foreign policy is a joke. It is a failed policy that has alienated other nations and cause untold damage.
    Obama has abused his executive powers and should be prosecuted for his violations. Obama has set back race relation in the U.S. by 50 years. Obama is ignoring the true sovereignty of the Jewish people in Israel and the various treaties and international agreements entered into after WWI and the various congressional resolutions on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people since WWI. Obama’s blatant disrespect for Netanyahu, interfering in Israel’s elections and Israel’s International legitimate rights shows his naivety in International matters and foreign policy. We can also blame Obama for increasing American deficit from 7 trillion to 21 trillion.
    Obama’s lack of etiquette is an outright embarrassment to the United States.
    Netanyahu is trying his best, but he will not compromise the security of Israel and that is the way a leader should perform. No other decent leaders of the free world perform differently.
    It is noteworthy to inform the world at large, that Jordan (Jordan – which is Arab-Palestine, the territory of Jordan has taken over 77% of the land allocated to the Jewish people under 1920 International Treaty, while the Arabs received over 12 million sq. km. of territory) is a country that never existed in history before WWI and nobody is contesting its legitimacy or territorial sovereignty and control. The same powers that established the 21 Arab States plus Jordan (which expelled the Jews and confiscated their assets, and Jews are forbidden to own property or reside in Jordan) after WWI also re-established the State of Israel and incorporated the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1920 San Remo Treaty as international law and confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne and the 1919 Faisal Weizmann Agreement. Thus, some of its terms were implemented by The League of Nation when it put into affect; “The Mandate for Palestine aka The Land of Israel”, which the British took on the duty and responsibility.
    On the other hand, Israel and its Jewish people have over 4,000 year of recorded history (just review all the archaeological discoveries the past 100 years in Greater Israel).
    Many Nations and people are questioning Israel’s control of its liberated territory; but not the Arabs after receiving over 12 million sq. km. of territory after WWI. No one is mentioning that the Arab countries had persecuted, terrorized and expelled over a million Jewish families and their children from their countries which they have lived in for over 2,600 years, the Arabs confiscated all their assets, businesses, homes and Real estate property. About 750,00 of these expelled Jewish families and their children were resettled in Greater Israel and today comprise over half the population. The Real estate the Arab countries confiscated from the Jewish people is over 120,000 sq. km. or 75,000 sq. miles which is over 6 times the size of Israel, and its value today is in the trillions of dollars. The British as trustee for the Jewish people in the mandate for Palestine aka The Land of Israel, violated the 1920 San Remo Treaty, the 1919 Faisal Weizmann Agreement and the terms of The Mandate for Palestine and re-allocated over 77% of the territories assigned to the Jewish people under International Treaty and gave it to the Arabs as a new Arab Palestinian State Trans-Jordan, East of the Jordan river and prohibiting Jewish people from residing in Jordan, while confiscating all their assets.
    Let the 21 Arab countries with over 12 million sq. km. of land resettle the Arab Palestinians in the homes and the 120,000 sq. km. of land they confiscated from the Jews which is 6 times the size of Israel. Provide them with funds they confiscated from the million Jewish families they terrorized and expelled and let them build an economy, This will benefit both the Arab-Palestinians and the hosting countries, The other alternative is relocate the Arab-Palestinians to Jordan, (originally land allocated for the Jewish people under the San Remo Treaty of 1920 and confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne; there was also the 1919 Faisal Weizmann Agreement) which is already over 80% Arab-Palestinians, and give them funds to relocate and build an economy. This will solve the Arab-Palestinians refugee problem once and for all. It will also reduce hostility and strife in the region.
    If this is not discrimination against Israel, I do not know what is.
    It seems like nobody cares about land violations in other countries in the world, but when it comes to Israel, everyone has something to say. Israel’s rights in the terms of the treaty of the 1920 San Remo are in affect in perpetuity, it clearly states that the Jewish people are the only ones with political rights in the British Mandate of Palestine and that the Jewish people can live anywhere in the British Mandate for Palestine, confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne.
    The U.N. cannot create countries; it can only recommend its resolutions.
    If the U.S., Europe and other countries will stop meddling, and stop its criticism and involvement in the politics of Israel and the Arabs, than there will be a chance for peace.
    We know the great powers are only interested in the OIL and nothing else, which is the bottom line.
    A true and lasting peace in Israel will bring mammoth economic prosperity to The Israelis and The Arabs alike.
    An approach to peace starts by teaching your children and the people not to hate and condemn any acts of terror and violence that hurts civilian population and stop celebrating and rewarding the death and destruction of each other.…/July/San-Remo-Resolution-Revisited/
    YJ Draiman

    No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish People in Israel –
    David Ben Gurion
    (David Ben-Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel and widely hailed as the State’s main founder).
    “No Jew is entitled to give up the right of establishing [i.e. settling] the Jewish Nation in all of the Land of Israel. No Jewish body has such power. Not even all the Jews alive today [i.e. the entire Jewish People] have the power to cede any part of the country or homeland whatsoever. This is a right vouchsafed or reserved for the Jewish Nation throughout all generations. This right cannot be lost or expropriated under any condition or circumstance. Even if at some particular time, there are those who declare that they are relinquishing this right, they have no power nor competence to deprive coming generations of this right. The Jewish nation is neither bound nor governed by such a waiver or renunciation. Our right to the whole of this country is valid, in force and endures forever. And until the Final Redemption has come, we will not budge from this historic right.”
    at the Basle Session of the 20th Zionist Congress at Zurich (1937)
    “No country in the world exists today by virtue of its ‘right’.
    All countries exist today by virtue of their ability to defend themselves against those who seek their destruction.”

  • YJ Draiman

    All Israeli politicians and leaders must understand, any and all internal conflict which leads to divisiveness weakens Israel. If they really care about Israel as well as its people and want Israel to survive in these difficult times, they must unify in a common cause and work together to enhance Israel’s safety and security. They must learn how to overcome their differences, for the sake of Israel and its people. Any elected or appointed leader, politician or official that pursues divisiveness and continues to incite conflict does not belong in a position to govern or represent Israel and its people. The self-serving agendas of the individual or party, which does not promote unity, must stop immediately. The future of
    Israel depends on it.
    “Israel – United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions that have got to destroy that unification upon which our existence hangs”.
    Here is a viable alternative: re-create the historical two Jewish entities which followed King Solomon. At that time Greater Israel was one Jewish entity, and Judea
    and Samaria was the second Jewish entity. For example, this template would allow the citizens of Israel the choice of living in the entity which strictly adheres to Jewish tradition and culture, or, they can live in the other entity which does not strictly adhere to said tradition. The end result would be a much needed unity with the common purpose of maintaining the security and prosperity of
    Israel; regardless, of any differences.
    Without total unity of all Israelis, Israel will be subjected to follow the historical path of many nations which existed before, and now, no longer exist.
    YJ Draiman


    • ReformSchool

      Most of what holds true for the Jewish State of Israel also holds true for the United States of America, whose Constitution and civilization were largely modeled upon ancient Israel and its legal codes.

  • Fred

    Obama has Islam at his heart.

  • Peter Joffe

    Obama is a man who thinks that he knows everything. Such a man is not capable or humility and to admid that everyday presents and opportunity to learn some thing new. Clinton claimed in her ‘contest’ with Trump that it was President Bush who wanted to get out of Iraq by such and such a date. Obama could not and would not consider that the world had changed drastically since the day of that fateful decision. How stupid can he be to plot a course for 8 years and not allow for how things change? Trump as a business man plots the path forward but reevaluates that path as and when needed. Clinton’s path is cast in stone as we have seen but, perhaps her path is backwards??

  • Yocheved

    “”There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

  • watsa46

    He came brainwashed and leaves brainwashed! reverse engineering failed! Nothing was there to recover!

  • Jonah

    He is not worried about the continued rise of radical Islam. It’s israel that does not see the truth. The truth is Obama is working with those that want Israel decimated you will never understand his actions and motives for his actions if you do not approach it with the truism that Obama is your worst enemy and your most dangerous enemy….because you do not recognize him as your enemy. You spend all your time trying to understand why he says what he says about Israel and you refuse to acknowledge he is the most avid financier of those who intend to wipe Israel off the map. He is intentionally drawing you into a conflict with Russia not to defeat Russia but with the full intention of making you a troublesome gadfly in the eyes of Russia hoping that as he continues to provoke Russia they will nuke you. Nothing in Obamas reign of future domination of this planet works unless Israel is destroyed. That is the truth recognize it for what it is and stop speculating on Obamas mindset. Their is nothing to speculate about, Arab spring, bengazi, the arming of terrorists, the war with Russia he is stoking, every move he makes is to choke Israel down and eventually choke the life out of you…that’s the truth.

  • It’s unlikely the next U.S. President will have a better grasp of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If there’s another Clinton administration, the policies of the Obama presidency will probably continue. Under a Trump administration, no one knows what changes are ahead with American-Israeli relations. And as American global leadership wanes, Russia will continue to increase its influence in the Middle East.

  • graylens

    Obama used the past eight years to declare the “settlements” ILLEGAL and the term was immediately accepted, He also specifically termed the Israeli presence in the pre 1967 areas as an occupation. These are powerful characterizations that have encouraged and furthered the move to delegitimize Israel. He has given more than tacit approval of the boycott of Israeli goods and BDS, in violation of US law

  • solange9

    It’s not that he hasn’t learned anything. It’s that he is a fanatic who works for fanatics who are perpetrating a certain agenda, their own, in pursuit of a NWO, and who are using Islamic jihad to do it. That means they must demonize Israel and Jews. None of this is through ignorance or by accident.

  • Citizenstat

    Mr. Obama has demonstrated his blindness from the beginning of his terms in office. It will be seen as a major black mark on his often admirable time at the helm of our “ship of state.”

  • CarolAnnD

    Excellent piece! Thank you.

  • Keith James

    more reasons to get America out of the Middle East…..

  • Efram Paul

    He is not interested in the dynamics. All that has ever mattered to him are:

    Jihadist Muslims=good

    As with all worshipers at the shrine of politically-coerced censorship, the facts are incidental.

  • brenrod

    It makes no sense to complain about Obama or others because the PM of Israel has NEVER, NEVER, NEVER uttered this simple truth since his term began more than 8 years ago:


    Why expect others to say what the PM of Israel cannot say. Those words should be a daily mantra uttered to the world and anyone asking for negotiations.

    • ReformSchool

      This comment appears verbatim, everywhere.. Benrod’s Disqus profile 13,317 comments, but following none?. Isn’t that illogical? Why is it not flagged as automatic spam from a programmed troll?

  • Bear Klein

    Yes the issue none of the Palestinian organizations recognize a Jewish State as a neighbor on a permanent basis that is the root of the conflict. That is why a two state concept is not a formula for peace.