Sunday, October 26, 2014

Israel And The U.S.: Trouble In Paradise

For Israel And The U.S.: Trouble In Paradise

Earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama were at pains to show their friendliness – literally hours before the administration issued an unusually harsh condemnation of Israeli building plans in a contested Jerusalem neighborhood.

You’d think the special friendship was as ironclad as ever, and it’s business as usual. Only it isn’t.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid called a crisis a crisis this week, and although he may have done so largely as a jibe at his own coalition partners, the simple fact remains: ties between Jerusalem and Washington are at a nadir. Hardly a week – and certainly not a month – goes by without insults and recriminations. Diplomatic snubs, critical press secretaries, censorious ministers, and tension-spurring tweets have all conspired to create an atmosphere that is unmistakable – at least in Washington.

If Netanyahu truly thinks that he and Obama are like “an old couple,” as he stated when he was last here a month ago, perhaps the most apt comparison would be to one of those couples that, after weathering 50 rocky years of quarrels, is now fantasizing about divorce. Israel and the US can no longer be mistaken for one big, happy family.

On Iran, for instance, the president and the prime minister are the couple who talk to each other but don’t necessarily listen. An Iran deal is simmering on the stove, and so far, the US has been impervious to Israel’s demands that any comprehensive agreement ensure an enrichment-free Iranian nuclear program. The US’s top nuclear negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, took the time this week to pillory in a speech those who do not want a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic. Yes, the administration has been consulting with Israel; no, it does not seem to be interested in Israel’s big message.

Ten days ago, Kerry spoke at a festive dinner and said that leaders in the Middle East had expressed concern that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “was a cause of recruitment” — for groups like the Islamic State — “and of street anger and agitation.”
Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett promptly played the anti-Semitism card in response to the perceived affront, complaining that “even when a British Muslim decapitates a British Christian, there will always be someone to blame the Jew. There is no justifying terror, only fighting it. To say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is strengthening the Islamic State is encouraging global terror.”
Gilad Erdan, the communications minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet, also jumped into the fray, saying that “Kerry is breaking records for a lack of understanding of what is going on in our region.”
Former peace negotiator Martin Indyk fired back a tweet: “There they go again: Israeli rightist ministers attack Kerry for wanting Israeli-Palestinian peace to help fight IS.”

For a few days, things seemed to be back on track. Ya’alon came to Washington sounding uncharacteristically conciliatory, but was denied requests to meet with a number of officials. And on Friday, the Washington Post published an interview with the minister, who implied that the United States was way out of its depth in the Middle East.

The State Department soft-pedaled questions as to why Washington did not call on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn Wednesday’s terror attack, but did quickly express its “condolences to the family” of the teenager killed by security forces and called for Israel to conduct “a speedy and transparent investigation” into the incident.
And that wasn’t even close to being the most strident US criticism of Israeli actions in recent months. During the war in Gaza, the State Department deplored the reported Israeli shelling of an UNRWA school as “appalling” and “disgraceful.”
Will Lapid’s very public acknowledgment of the truth make the situation any different? That is unlikely, given his own very clear, and very internal, political motivations. With no resolution in sight, the “old couple” seems set to continue to bicker behind closed doors, and while the president and the prime minister may try to keep their voices down, it will remain patently clear to anyone standing outside that there’s deep trouble in paradise.

Since when does the US Administration send condolences to a criminal’s family?
I know it happened in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri. Now it is happening in Israel after an Arab youth who hurled firebombs at passing Israeli cars in Judea & Samaria, was killed by security forces. The Obama Administration sent official condolences to the family of this young terrorist when, as part of a violent mob, he endangering the lives of Israelis.

But where is this biased animus coming from? I strongly suspect it is coming from the top of the present US Administration, from Obama himself.

There is a deep motive behind Obama’s animus toward Israel. It stems from his far left Socialist political upbringing both at family and personal mentor levels. It has framed his political mindset both at home and abroad. It is this that affects his worldview. Anyone reading his autobiography, particularly the imprisonment and alleged torture of his grandfather in Kenya by the British, must take from it a sense that the American president harbors resentment to perceived colonizers, oppressors, and imperialist powers. He looks on countries through the prism of his upbringing. Official relations may appear normal on the surface, but grievances bubble up in personal slights. Take, for example, the little addressed gesture by Obama of returning the bust of Winston Churchill that had taken pride of place in the White House, to Britain on entering the presidential residence. It was nothing less than a personal gesture of resentment.
There is little doubt that Obama feels a personal kinship with the Muslim world. This again is grounded by his personal life experiences in Muslim countries. A personal affinity by an important world leader is often a good thing and can make for a more peaceful world if balanced with wisdom and diplomatic skills. What Obama does not take on board is the centuries old hatred of non-believers, and a past of corrupt and primitively brutal reigns of conquest, slavery, and slaughter. Instead, he shares their accusations that all their troubles have been caused by the colonizers, oppressors, and imperial powers of which America is the modern day leader.

Obama is a quintessential abusive husband. He tells Israel he loves us even as he abuses us.
The latest example was his, and Kerry’s, rebuttal of Israel’s Defense Minister in Washington, which was a new low point in US-Israel relations.
The nastiness of the Obama Administration was displayed by the State Department spokesperson that summarily dismissed the Mahmoud Abbas incitement that led to ongoing Jerusalem terror attacks which left a 3 month old baby dead, but slammed down on Jews legally buying homes in Jerusalem.

A headline display of spite was Obama leaving Israel’s Prime Minister to stew in the White House while he stormed off to have dinner with Michelle in March 2010. Obama snubbed Netanyahu again in September 2012 over important Iranian nuclear issues.

In an October, 2013 article, “Obama gets cozy with Turkey; Snubs Israel.”  Frank Gaffney wrote; ”his administration has behaved toward Israel as though it were, at best, a country in which we have no interests. At worst, Obama seems to consider the Jewish State as a hostile power. He has: repeatedly demeaned its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; contributed to its international isolation (for example, by demanding at one point an end to settlement expansion as a precondition for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations); and subverted its vital interests (notably, by declaring that Israel must withdraw to the indefensible pre-1967 borders).”

Gaffney added, ”Barack Obama has treated Turkey as a reliable partner even though, for the better part of a decade under its Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this nation that is supposedly a NATO ally has been aligning ever more palpably with our adversaries.”
We see the US both retreating from the region but also changing sides in the region. Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood on Egypt. During the Gaza conflict, his Administration sided with Qatar and Turkey against the wishes of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

As Caroline Glick astutely pointed out in a recent talk in Netanya, our neighbors are pondering on how to get through an Obama presidency. This particularly applies to an Israel suffering from a presidential animus, which is an integral part of his personal and political DNA.

My opinion was formed from living in Israel, witnessing the horror of terror, reading the misinformation and downright lies perpetrated by the Western media, seen the incompetence of Israeli leaders to project the facts. My website comes from a particularly personal perspective. The articles may be controversial and provocative. For whatever strikes Israel today will surely visit you tomorrow.
Barry is the author of ISRAEL - RECLAIMING THE NARRATIVE which is available or at Amazon Kindle.

Dashing Hamas hopes of a detente with the Egyptian regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt closed its borders to a high-ranking Hamas delegation to talks with Israel on Sunday, accusing Palestinians of involvement in a deadly terror attack in Sinai Friday.

Sissi said on Saturday that “foreign hands” were behind a suicide car bombing that killed over 30 soldiers at a checkpoint near the northern Sinai town of el-Arish, declaring a three-month state of emergency in the peninsula. But Egypt’s deputy interior minister, Samih Bashadi, was more specific on Sunday, accusing “Palestinian operatives” of involvement in the attack.

Security in the Sinai can only be achieved through the establishment of a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Sinai, Bashadi told Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. He said Egypt would target terror bases in northern Sinai using Apache attack helicopters.

Dalia Ziada, executive director of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Developmental Studies, a Cairo-based research center, told Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that Sinai should be declared “an anti-terror zone.”
“The military should intervene immediately by removing peaceful civilians from Sinai, and pursue the terrorists until they’re eradicated,” Ziada said. “On the legal level, the trials of terrorists must be concluded quickly, especially given that all the accused are in fact terrorists.”

Following the sad death of its first Ebola case, Mali's President has said he will not close his nation's border with Guinea, because "the incident showed it was impossible to completely seal his country."

Mali's neighbors, on the other hand, are shutting borders, as Mauritania tries not to become Africa's 7th Ebola-infected country. This brings, according to The WHO, thenumber of cases of Ebola to 10,141 with 4,922 dead (so far).

Americans should not worry though, for the 2nd week in a row, President Obama devoted his address to the subject of Ebola, explaining "basic facts" of how difficult it is to catch (despite the need to enforce mandatory quarantine for healthcare workers) and in 'USA USA USA'-esque language, explains how "Americans can beat" the deadly virus.

Rep. Peter King believes Ebola may be more of a threat than doctors are telling the public.

In an interview with Long Island News Radio last week, the New York Republican expressed his concern that the virus has mutated and become airborne, according to BuzzFeed.

You know my attitude was it’s important not to create a panic and it’s important not to overreact and the doctors were absolutely certain that this can not be transmitted and it was not airborne and yet we find out the people who have contracted it were wearing all protective gear,” King said.

King used the two nurses who were stricken with Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., as a prime example of how doctors could be wrong about the way the virus is spread.

“Listen, I don’t blame doctors or the medical profession for not being up to date on the latest mutation,” King said.

“I mean, they should try to be and they should work at it but less I think they should be less definite when they make these pronouncements. That there is absolutely nothing to worry about, this can’t be transmitted airborne, that there’s nothing to worry about.”

His bottom line: Take the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s warnings about Ebola — that it is only transmitted through bodily fluids — with a grain of salt.

After more than two months of air strikes, a US-led coalition has prevented the fall of a northern Syrian town to Islamic State jihadists but is still struggling to halt the group’s advances on other fronts, experts say.

Since the air war on the IS militants began on August 8, the United States and its allies have few concrete successes to point to as the IS group has continued to roll ahead in western Iraq and tighten its grip elsewhere.

Senior US administration officials and military commanders acknowledged in recent days the Iraqi army is months away from any sustained counter-offensive that could roll back the IS from its strongholds in Iraq’s western and northern provinces.

And despite ambitious plans for Iraq’s Sunni tribes to join the fight, most of the tribal leaders are sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi will break with the sectarian politics of his predecessor, officials said.
In the Syrian border town of Kobani, US officials are cautiously optimistic that Kurdish fighters — backed by US air raids — have fended off a relentless push by the IS militants to seize control of the area.

By keeping the town from falling — at least for the moment — the Americans avoided handing the IS a potential propaganda coup in a battle that has drawn intense media attention.
But the fight remains a stalemate and the Kurds’ desperate appeals for help — and Turkey’s cool response — have highlighted the deep divisions that plague the anti-IS coalition, experts said.

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