Con: Obama must return to his 2010 support for a separate Palestinian state
Those who suggest that President Obama’s requirements for a comprehensive and lasting Middle East peace agreement constitute an “abandonment of Israel” are far off base.
The United States, after decades of adhering to an ill-advised and misguided policy of “traditional” support for an ally—Israel—must finally act in its own interests.
America’s interests in the Middle East and wider Muslim world are not the same, and in some cases, run completely counter to those of Israel.
That is a fact of life, but President Obama’s Sept. 21 speech to the U.N. General Assembly continued to place America’s national security interests in jeopardy while advancing those of Israel.
As long as the United States is viewed by all the major stakeholders in a future comprehensive Middle East peace pact—Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and the burgeoning “Arab Spring” democratic movements in the region—as being a water-carrier for Israeli government policy, any hope that the United States can be viewed as an honest broker is a fantasy.
In his 2010 speech to the General Assembly, Obama said, “When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations—an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.” What a difference a year makes. Obama, more interested in pandering to special interests for his re-election campaign than in fulfilling his promises, said something quite different in his address to the United Nations this year.
As Palestine was preparing to submit its application for the U.N. membership championed by Obama the previous year, the president told the international assembly, “There is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations.” Obama was referring to the Palestine sovereignty resolution.
Obama’s sense of history abysmally ignored the fact that it was just such a U.N. partition resolution in 1948 that created Israel and a neighboring Arab state. That Arab state, Palestine, now wishes for the United Nations to make good on General Assembly resolution number 181 of 1947, which partitioned the Palestine mandate into two countries, with Israel receiving 55 percent of the land and Palestine the remaining 45 percent.
What Obama and a handful of other countries, including Canada, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have done is to deny Palestine from enjoying its long-delayed self-determination as a nation in a world of nations.
Israel and its allies have used threats, filibustering tactics, and demonization of the Arab majority in Palestine to cut the legs from a policy that Obama supported one year earlier.
Practicing micro-politics, Israeli envoys shamelessly visited the smallest and poorest nations of the United Nations and threatened them with loss of economic assistance, international credits, and even tourists if they voted with Palestine.
More galling is the fact that Israel was using the threat of American sanctions to advance its agenda in countries from Belize and El Salvador in Central America to Estonia and Bulgaria in Eastern Europe.
After Belize and El Salvador rejected the pressure from Tel Aviv and Washington and announced they would support and recognize Palestine, the U.S. State Department placed both nations on a list of countries that failed to stem the flow of illegal narcotics, leaving them open for sanctions to be applied by the Obama administration.
Even more outrageous were calls by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to cut off aid to both the Palestinians and the United Nations if the U.N. opted to recognize Palestine’s legitimate aspirations for sovereignty.
Ironically, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama has shown himself to be more interested in advancing his own career than in achieving a lasting and American-brokered peace agreement for the Middle East.
Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to www.onlinejournal.com. Readers may write to him at: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20045.