To Ahmet Turko How about the 27 ways Obama administration endangers Israel by Barry Rubin http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2011/12/12/how-is-obamas-middle-east-policy-endangering-israel-let-me-count-the-ways/ 1. His support for the overthrow of the entire Egyptian system, thus inevitably bringing about a situation in which the Egyptians had a government dedicated to Israel’s destruction and to supporting anti-Israel terrorism. He rejected State Department advice to try to limit the damage by changing the leadership and not the entire regime. The idea that the U.S. government didn’t control events is correct; the idea that it couldn’t and didn’t influence them is nonsense. 2. His long engagement with Iran that wasted around two years and emboldened the Tehran regime. This strengthened Iran and its regional influence as forces concluded that the United States feared Iran and dared not confront it or try to stop it. 3. His long engagement with Syria which ended only because of a full-scale revolt there. 4. His closeness to the Turkish regime despite that country’s hostility to Israel. U.S. policy has demoralized the Turkish opposition, persuaded Turkish voters that the regime’s policy had no cost for the country’s international interests, and emboldened the Islamist regime to be more aggressive against both Israel and U.S. interests. 5. His statements that he had no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood being in power in Egypt and the soft line he took toward that organization made it seem to people in that country, and in Tunisia as well, that the United States was endorsing the Brotherhood. This demoralized the moderates and swayed some votes in that direction while also making the Europeans believe they could also deal with the Brotherhood’s. Israel’s warnings that this endangered its security thus have fallen on deaf ears. 6. His pressure on Israel to reduce sanctions on the Gaza Strip to the absolute minimum–in response to the mere sending of a half-dozen small blockade-busting ships and what amounted to a minor confrontation–greatly strengthened and emboldened Hamas, helping to ensure its survival so that it can launch wars and subversion against Israel in future. 7. His support for the construction of a Syrian opposition leadership in which a majority of members are Islamists, managed by Islamist Turkey of all governments! This might lead to a future Islamist regime in Syria when that outcome was otherwise avoidable. Such a regime would pose a dire threat to Israel, especially in combination with allied Brotherhood-dominated Islamist regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and the Gaza Strip. 8. His failure to criticize or pressure the PA and never to blame it–but only Israel–for stagnation in the peace process. Thus, the PA had no need to compromise or return to the bargaining table or to reduce incitement to terrorism and the protection of terrorists. With the president of the United States saying that Israel was responsible for the lack of peace, many other institutions, countries, and people followed suit. 9. His initial rejection of a previous president’s promise that Israel could keep settlement blocs in a comprehensive peace agreement. This showed Israel that it could not trust Obama and his promises. 10. His breaking the US agreement that Israel could continue building in Jerusalem during the settlement freeze. See point 9. 11. His failure to acknowledge Israeli concessions and efforts to get talks ith the PA going. See point 9. 12. His soft stand in practice regarding the PA-Hamas cooperation.This locked the PA into an even more intransigent position and strengthened Hamas. 13. His failure to back the democratic Iranian opposition when the election was stolen. This missed a chance to weaken the Iranian regime which has threatened to wipe Israel off the map and sponsors anti-Israel subversion and terrorism. 14. His administration’s puerile claims that the problem is that Israel is isolating itself when the plethora of new Islamist regimes is the cause of the problem Israel is facing. This shows administration thinking that if revolutionary Islamists take power it is up to Israel to appease them. The radicals are shown that the United States does not really support Israel (they are far harder to fool than many Americans and American Jews) and thus they can escalate their hostility and attacks on Israel without fear of an American response. 15. His announcement of a new policy on the conditions for peace without consulting Israel when PM Netanyahu was actually on a plane headed to Washington. These and other actions of showing contempt and disrespect for Netanyahu are not merely personal quirks but weaken Israel’s security by showing the world that the U.S. government does not stand behind Israel. It signals that enemies are safer in attacking Israel, that continued pressure can even further reduce U.S. support, and shows European states that Washington won’t mind if they also become more hostile. 16. His statement about Israel returning to the 1967 borders with territorial swaps. Not because he advocated those borders but because he advocated that Israel withdraw from the territory before any actual deal was made. This undercut Israel’s future bargaining position and further reduced any chance of PA flexibility. 17. Similarly, Obama’s introduction of the idea that a freeze on all new construction on settlements must stop before negotiations can be held outbid the PA position. From that point on, this became the PA’s minimal demand–which it had never been before–thus making it even harder to restart talks now or in future. Again, it allowed the PA to refuse to talk while still enjoying the advantage that Israel was blamed for the lack of talks. It weakened Israel’s position since that country’s signing of the 1993 accord with the PLO was party conditioned on the ability to continuing building on settlements. 18. His failure to keep the promises made to Israel about UNIFIL keeping Hizballah from returning to southern Lebanon and building up military fortifications there, to stop arms’ smuggling from Syria to Hizballah. This has greatly strengthened Hizballah, making war more likely and increasing Hizballah’s ability to inflict higher numbers of casualties on Israel. 19. The NATO operation in Libya that did not deal with the identity of the armed opposition and has set in motion an Islamist regime in Libya. The failure to act in order to prevent vast amounts of Libyan weapons, including anti-aircraft systems, going to Hamas. 20. His policy, statements, and behavior signalling weakness which emboldened radical forces and demoralized moderate Arabs. This is a general point covering the many speeches by Obama and other administration officials to this effect. When countries see that Israel has lost (or if you prefer is losing) its main protector what effect do you think this has on the strategic situation? 21. His policy of not letting government officials talk about the threat of revolutionary Islamism has underrated that threat and reduced support for the kind of understanding and measures required by Israel’s security. Since revolutionary Islamism is the main threat against Israel’s security by saying, in effect, that this threat doesn’t exist Obama undercuts Israel’s ability to mobilize support and take actions in self-defense. 22. His administration’s encouragement of J Street has been an attempt to split and subvert American Jewish support for Israel. American Jewish support for Israel is an important strategic asset. The administration has reduced this asset. 23. His disrespectful treatment of Netanyahu during the prime minister’s visit to Washington and his caustic remarks caught on microphone display Obama’s personal dislike for the democratically elected leader of Israel. Again, this signals the “wolves” that the “shepherd” doesn’t care if they take a few bites out of the herd. What do you think the effect is of such things in, say, Tehran? 24. The fact that his secretary of state can speak openly about supposed fears about the future of democracy and women’s rights in Israel (especially when coupled with the absence of such reflections regarding revolutionary Islamists) signals to Americans that they should be more critical of Israel and unfairly characterizes that country as not worth defending (or at least less legitimate and worth defending). 25. His administration’s refusal to deal honestly with the problem of Muslim antisemitism (the most significant aspect of antisemitism in the world today) again undercuts Israel’s posture as the victim of attacks and delegitimization. The remarks of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, even if criticized by the White House, is perfectly in line with Obama policy. If, as the ambassador said, Israel retaliation (for attacks on Israel) is a major cause of antisemitism then Israel defending itself is the cause of its own problems. In other words, Israel shouldn’t defend itself. 26. He and his administration have used their considerable influence with the mass media to ignore and understate Israel’s needs and concerns while building up criticism and antagonism toward that country. 27. He did not engage in the battle to keep UNESCO from admitting Palestine as a state nor has his administration really confronted–beyond the minimum–the constant UN attacks on Israel especially in the Human Rights Council which his administration decided to rejoin.
Wreckage of missing Indonesian airplane found (AP)