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  • Morning Bell: Obama Falling Short on Israel

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is taking his people’s bid for statehood to the United Nations this week with a speech set for Friday, followed by a formal application for membership to the U.N. shortly thereafter. If Palestine succeeds in its unilateral efforts, it would be detrimental to U.S. interests in the region, isolate Israel, and deal a major setback to Israeli–Palestinian peace prospects.

    Palestine’s move comes despite intense U.S. diplomatic efforts and words from President Barack Obama warning that “efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure.” The President has vowed to veto any such attempt in the U.N. Security Council and, in a speech yesterday to the U.N., he reaffirmed his support for Israel and a peace process that ensures its security. Heritage’s Brett Schaefer, though, writes that the President’s words were marred by a soft-pedaling stance toward Palestine.

    President Obama proffered a more robust defense of Israel than has been his want, perhaps driven by a desire to bolster waning support among American Jewish voters. Even so, he still maintained a false moral equivalence between the Palestinians and Israel, stating, “That truth – that each side has legitimate aspirations – is what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes.

    The President’s words yesterday come after nearly three years of being weak on Israel, failing to condemn those who threaten the country’s existence, and failing to draw a distinction between a freedom-loving nation and those who seek to wipe it off the map. Here in America, the President’s weakness on Israel drew a strong rebuke in the recent special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District where a Republican upset a Democrat in a heavily Jewish, Democratic stronghold. Though any words in support of the United States’ friend and ally are welcome, the President has far to go in offering the support that Israel needs and deserves.

    Heritage expert James Carafano explains:

    Mr. Obama’s approach [to the peace process] has achieved nothing. Instead, the Palestinians are repaying his efforts with a U.N. campaign that seems designed to embarrass the White House. Like Jimmy Carter before him, Mr. Obama is finding that when American presidents present a face of international accommodation and ambivalence, they get taken advantage of. Weakness invites aggression.

    Palestine’s move, not surprisingly, has drawn stiff opposition from Israel, which sees Palestine’s effort as an end-run around the peace process. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the news of Abbas’ effort with a stiff condemnation, saying that peace can only be achieved through negotiations:

    The leadership of the Palestinian authority has consistently evaded peace negotiations with Israel. When the Palestinian authority abandons these futile and unilateral measures at the UN, it will find Israel to be a genuine partner for direct peace negotiations.

    If Palestine fails in its effort to force a vote for statehood in the Security Council, which will occur if the U.S. exercises its veto, it will likely follow up with a General Assembly resolution recognizing its statehood and elevating its status at the U.N. from an observer entity to a non-member state observer. Schaefer explains the ramifications of such a move:

    Success in either effort would be detrimental to U.S. and Israeli interests and illustrate the need for a more hard-nosed policy, in coordination with Congress, to use America’s financial leverage to protect and advance U.S. interests at the U.N.

    Palestine’s efforts this week will prove a test of President Obama’s strategy to engage at the U.N., rather than to exercise U.S. muscle in order to advance its interests. But should Palestine succeed and the U.S. fail, Schaefer explains that “it would raise serious questions about the depth of goodwill garnered by its ‘engagement’ strategy and whether the U.S. should assume a tougher approach at the U.N.”

    There are other tools at the President’s disposal in dealing with the U.N.–namely, Congress. Washington can take a hard-nosed approach and use U.S. financial leverage to advance its policy priorities. And that means withholding contributions to the U.N., as well as foreign aid to countries who vote against U.S. interests.

    Palestine itself is one of the largest per capita recipients of foreign aid in the world. As Heritage’s James Phillips explained in recent Congressional testimony:

    U.S. aid to the Palestinians is aimed at supporting Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations; strengthening and reforming the Palestinian Authority, which was created through those negotiations; and improving the living standards of Palestinians to demonstrate the benefits of peaceful coexistence with Israel. These are laudable goals, but unfortunately, peace negotiations have bogged down. Even worse, the Palestinian Authority has reached a rapprochement with Hamas, the Islamist extremist organization with a long record of terrorism, which not only is opposed to peace negotiations with Israel, but remains implacably committed to Israel’s destruction.

    Now is not the time for President Obama to turn his back on the region’s strongest democracy. Instead, the United States should reaffirm its commitment to strengthening its alliance with Israel and remain strong in the face of U.N. action designed to embarrass the U.S. and weaken the peace process.

    Quick Hits:

    • The House yesterday rejected a temporary spending bill that would have funded the government through November. Four dozen conservatives voted against the measure because it left spending higher than the cap set in the House GOP budget.
    • The Federal Reserve took steps yesterday to stimulate the economy by buying long-term Treasury bonds in order to lower interest rates on mortgages, but the market responded negatively with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index dropping 3 percent.
    • President Obama’s “Buffett Rule” — a plan to raise tax rates on wealthy Americans — is bad news for technology startups, and a similar policy in California has been a plague on the state’s finances.
    • NATO has agreed to extend its mission in Libya another 90 days, and today the commanding general said isolated groups of pro-Qadhafi forces continue to threaten local people.
    • Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says Obamacare will boost small-business job growth, but he couldn’t be more wrong. Read the story on Foundry.org.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama Falling Short on Israel

    1. Miickey says:

      Did you hear Glen Beck where he said that when President Obama was elected the first phone call was to Palestinian Abbas Go figure it out!.
      Thank you

    2. Dennis Eck says:

      What else is new! Obama cares little about Israel's friendship. Israel was supposed to be the entire area of Jordan back in 1917, yet they received a very small part of it, after the ottoman war ended and again in 1947, now the palestinians want more and more until Israel is no more. Our only true friend in the middleeast which our government should strongly support!

    3. Steve Cafaro says:

      With all the problems we have in the USA, why is it so critical our Country continue to insert herself in the affairs of the deeply divided, perpetually troubled Middle East. I vote to solve America's problems before any furtherattempts at contriolling the world.

    4. sdfultz says:

      Wow, no comments!
      No American leader has been successful with this matter, Isreal and Palestine have not been successful in the past, so perhaps the Palestinians have a point. They want to tell the world that they exist and want to be a part of the world, play by international law and join the civilized nations.
      Is that such a bad thing?

      • john wiemer says:

        If they would act in a civilized manner. Perhaps

      • David Lubin says:

        Are you suggesting that the U.N., a peace organization, recognize a new State that is already at War (for all purposes) with an existing long established State? This is crazy squared.

    5. wayne says:

      Disturbing, very disturbing ; hard to swallow. To think that the US. is proping up the enemy with so much aid just so they will be more inclined to make peace is hard to even think about. Are they so pitiful that their life cant get off the ground with out constant aid so that they may have a higher standard of livining ? Now they can be happy and make peace at the expense of the American people ? There is a disconnect here….. What about Appalachia ?

    6. Will says:

      What a fake,Barako spends nearly three year's shunning Israel,now pretends to be on their side ! It's election time !

    7. Frank says:

      Israel made a big mistake after the 1967 war when it did not simply annex the West Bank & Gaza. The Arabs must pay a price for repeatedly trying to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Loss of territory after losing a war is nothing new. Israel had a claim on that land going back to the days of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. The land was promised to them by God but it didn't actually begin to take shape until 40 years after the Exodus when Israel entered into the promised land. It reached it's height during the days of David & Solomon. But its minimum size would be today's Israel plus Gaza & the West Bank. For simply military reasons, Israel deserves defensible borders and you can't expect a nation to commit suicide by agreeing to something less when surrounded by hostile neighbors proven to be bent on their destruction.

    8. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obama's Israel policy is stupid.

    9. robbie says:

      Site admins, is that like censorship? Sounds more like the old Soviet Union!

    10. As long as we perpetuate the myth of a "Palestinian people" there will never be any type of peaceful coexistence between the Jewish state of Israel and the Muslims that want the Jewish state destroyed. Prior to June 1967, the people living in the Gaza Strip were called Egyptians, those living in the West Bank were Jordanians. When did they suddenly become Palestinians?
      The whole idea is fictitious; if those in the media, be it the lame stream, cable, or internet would do just a smidgen of research, they would discover that the Jewish people are the original Palestinians. All one has to do is go back and see where Rome changed the name of the land after the ancient enemies of the Jewish people, the Philistines, and called their newly acquired province, Philistinia, which was changed to Palestine.
      Those who call themselves, "Palestinian" already have a homeland; it is called Jordan.

    11. Todd says:

      It is election time. BHO saw the outcome of the New York election and now knows for sure that he has a problem with the Jewish voters in the country. No wonder he has flip-flopped on this issue. It is all about his election – not the welfare of this our any other country.

    12. Bob says:

      This morning Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswomen from Florida and head of the DNC, stated on FOX News that Obama has been one of the staunchest allies of Israel and that Israeli American citizens have nothing but praise for Obama's support of Israel. AND SHE SAID IT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE! One mushy two-sided speech at the U.N. does not erase the almost three years of Obama throwing Israel under the bus. It is amazing that now that he is losing voters because of his stance Obama tries to quickly change his tune. And the DNC chair backs him with such an outrageous statement.

    13. victorbarney says:

      Biblically, America is Israel by the seed of Joseph, not Judah, only promised Messiah(Gen.48:16) as Britain, but they have been Marxist(Anti-Christ since 1928 I believe)? It is u.s who forefilled Deuteronomy 17:15 not England, about putting in the "forbidden foreigner" over u.s. It is u.s. now also who have put in the endtime Marxist(Anti-Christ) of Revelation, which will make the first-born(Cain) last and the last born Able, who was murdered by Cain by the way, FIRST to be resurrected! No? Well, it is going to happen anyway, as written! Again, watch!

    14. B. Hagan says:

      ….than has been his WONT….

    15. MNJ says:

      Appeasement never works. Is Obama falling short on Israel? No, he is falling short on everything.

      I read recently that the proposed Palestinian state will not accept Palestinians from any other Arab country and will not make them citizens of Palestine. In addition, those who have been forced (by Arabs) to live in the "refugee" camps, will not be allowed citizenship in the "new Palestinian" state.

      This is a power play – as usual the Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. are being used as puppets by other Arab nations. Frankly, they are behaving foolishly by letting themselves be pawns in the Arab chess game.

    16. tom s says:

      Its quite clear the obama is anti jewish! Israel is the only friend the USA has in that area of the world. If the USA continues obama's policies, the muslims may succeed in their wish to take Israel out, without the support of the USA. That would be terrible for Israel & for the USA.

    17. Jeanne Stotler says:

      True to form, says what he thinks will benefit him the most. This is the first time in my life that I've seen a POTUS start to campaign for reelection before being sworn in, he needs to tend to business at hand. He does not want to stand up for Isreal, he says so in his book, that he would side with Muslims if it came down to it, now he's afraid to lose the WH and trying to con the country.

    18. Glynnda says:

      Obama's stance on Isreal is no secret. He is playing politics as usual. I heard Herman Cain in a speech the other night in Lakeland, FL stating his stance on foreign policy. It was quite simple. "We need to be clear about who our friends are and who our enemies are" Once we make that distinction two things need to happen, we need to declare our shoulder to shoulder support of our friends……like Isreal. Second we need to STOP SENDING MONEY to those who we deem enemies….i.e. nations that support and encourage terrorism"……gosh, I wonder who he might have been talking about……he is correct however.

      We will NEVER see this president take such a stand. Barack Obama does not possess a backbone.


    19. Clearhead says:

      What entity authorized the donation of the American taxpayers' money to a non-entity such as Palestine, the "largest per capita recipient of foreign aid"? What imbecile(s) would be so COMPLETELY devoid of common sense as to throw millions of dollars to a group of his worst enemies in order to make them back off from attacking one of his best friends? Logically, there can be only one answer: ONE OF THE WORST ENEMIES.
      Who else would spend money to destroy himself and his friend? DING DONG — DING DONG — WAKE UP!!!!!

    20. mohammad malick says:

      The american people must see through the intelligent Israeli strategy of presenting Israel's interests as purely Us interests. The analysis of the heritage experts unfailingly talk about Palestinians embarrassing, hurting etc the US interests primarily. Pl stop insulting the intelligence of the world. The real thinking slipped through when it was stated "weakness invites aggression". This short sighted viewpoint is what ensures the failure of peace between israel and palestine. Mandela rightly pointed out that the nature of response is decided by the nature of oppression. And once US and Israel realise this then peace is only a few negotiations away.

    21. Donald says:

      Another example of too little too late and Obama leading from behind.

    22. Linda Reece says:

      Who are the Palestinians as opposed to the Arabs?

    23. pat wright says:

      Palestine is not a country or nation. Stop referring to Palestine as a nation. Palestine is not even any defined group of people. Palestine is merely a concept. There has never been a Palestine. There was however an Israel in ancient times and it encompassed much of what is now territory held by other governments. If any nation should be complaining about borders it's Israel. Israel's security concerns are legitimate. Both the East Bank and the Gaza Strip were captured when Israel was forced to make preemptive strikes to defend her borders. Israel was about o be attacked from all sides when the Six Day War began. Now the Israelis rightfully say they would be unable to defend their land without the areas they conquered.

    24. Mary says:

      It was very surprising to hear Barack Obama take Isreal's side…. Could it be for re-election? We do not trust him at all. Also since when is Warren Buffet incharge of our economy, there must be a reason that he cares about Taxing the Rich, since he is filthy Rich. Could it be that he has an interest in some type of investment or some ruling that taxes so called Rich. This administration wants to tax higher middle income and call them rich, but we do need rich people in this country to have strong businesses, and what they call rich is not really rich. The Washington Elites are the Rich ones, and I guarantee that they will NOT be paying any higher TAXES.
      They all need to go. Obama loves the Muslims and their countries. He needs to go there and live .

    25. Val says:

      I think people don't like to comment on this Heritage network, they lean to the left. I left a comment today and followed their rules, and they wouldn't print it . Lets see if this complaint makes it. I do have a dislike for Obama, and I said what I thought ! SOOOO…

    26. Jill Maine says:

      There is no country called palestine. Also Palestine is completely alligned with Hamas and therefore a terrorist group. The US gives Palestine millinos of dollars and I think they sholud be completely cut off.

    27. Bobbie says:

      Israel is morally principled. Obama fights against that here so he's got ample reason to fight it anywhere. After all, he is a citizen of the world that all principled citizens will see through if they don't already! It seems so pathetic that the strong belief people have from various religious titles, (not intruding on anyone elses beliefs) that the Jews are God's chosen ones and Israel God's chosen land, people are jealous! Just jealous! Israel shows peace and strength in character all the little weaklings want to kill and disrupt as adult children get their way! It's easy to kill the flesh but the good of the human spirit NEVER DIES! Actions speak louder than words! Obama and alot of America turn against strength and dignity! God Bless His chosen! And I pray for America's strength of her people to regain the majority!

    28. Khalilah Sabra says:

      "Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations," Obama said. This may be true, but it has yet to be tried and tested. What we do know is that peace has not come through the diplomatic wrangling of the United States. The current president of the United States would rather continue the myth of progress initiated by those who sat in the White House before him, a myth that includes a sense of self-awarded respite from concern for those who are in lethal trouble on the part of those who aren’t.

      The President says, "One year ago, I stood at this podium and called for an independent Palestine. I believed then – and I believe now – that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves." His words, unfortunately, are like mental illness – there is no basis for optimism. The Middle East peace process has only allowed the Palestinian people to fall a little bit deeper into despair and oppression, dying amid useless dialogue and nonstop occupation. Death, torture, refugee camps, more settlements, an apartheid wall and the passage of time are evidence that the Palestinian people are not free, but worse – they have not been treated human. It is more sickening, more repulsive, when this optimism comes from those who are so well-informed and cannot recognize that they are lying to themselves while the Palestinian people are being annihilated.

      The President does not say, “It is a fact that loyalties cannot be built on a framework of moral disloyalty. Human need is not answered by mere ideas, which has been the only thing offered to the Palestinian people.” If the president should make this kind of statement, and if other world leaders gave up the will to be silent and respectful, things might finally change and there would be no reason to believe that they are committing political treason or continue to corroborate in the lie that has continued for more than 60 years.

      The President says, "Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side," He says, "Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem." If it were any other situation, we might be able to believe that these words are backed by sincerity and raw truth and not on behalf of those who have cash and power or who have the advantage of the hour.
      The President says "Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors.” He did not say that the Palestinians deserve recognition or that the Palestinians deserve liberty and justice.
      Here alone is where we must stop pretending that serious changes will occur within the lives of those under occupation, without the need for unjust ideals to be altered. The end results of this conflict are tied directly to the value of America’s contribution; this obviously means much less, especially when impartiality and fairness are so obviously missing. It's time for the UN to do more and the US to do less.

      Khalilah Sabra
      MAS Immigrant Justice Center

    29. H Snyder says:

      It is more and more difficult to believe that Obama is naive about Mideast issues. His cozying up to the Muslims in his first major speech after January 20, 2009 gives some indication (and concern) about his intentions in foreign policy viv-a-vis Israel and the Muslim countries. He knows that Israel is virtually surrounded by enemies who want to eradicate them and their country, and he know that eradication of Israel would be considered a serious defeat for the U.S. which was the major force which led to the establishment of Israel in 1948, and the major ally of that nation. The disappearance of Israel would be a major defeat of U.S. foreign policy and one of the 'transformations" which a 2013 Republican administration could not correct. Losing "face" or status is considered very serious in Asian circles and an Israeli debacle would affect U.S. influence. ( As a footnote, many South American countries stayed "neutral" during WWII until they saw which side was going to win.)

    30. msmii says:

      Here is my predicition on the coming UNSC vote regarding Palestine:

      Russia, China, Nigeria, Lebanon are sure votes of Yes, while Bosnia, Gabon are likely a yes.

      US, UK, France, Germany, India and Brazil are likely to vote No. India will also vote No.

      Colombia sees more benefit in voting with the US, so they are a No. Portugal may say No, also.

      I do not see the 9 vote majority for a state of Palestine; however, my experience in the Middle East and West Africa tells me that the vote, either way, is not going to pass without violence.

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