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  • February 8, 2013

    Obama’s visit to Israel – continuity or change?

    Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought”
    “Israel Hayom”, February 8, 2013,

    President Obama’s March 2013 visit to the Middle East, including Israel, could signal a significant policy-change from his June 2009 visit, which excluded Israel.  On the other hand, the introduction of the John Kerry (State Department) – Chuck Hagel (Pentagon) – John Brennan (CIA) team of “Palestine Firsters”may suggest that the March visit could merely be a tactical-change in pursuit of the same policy.

    The 2009 visit was driven by an assumption that a newly-elected charismatic US President could turnaround the US economy and reform US healthcare, while simultaneously implementing UN-like multilateralism, lowering the US unilateral profile, transforming the world from confrontation to engagement, mollifying the Muslim World, coax Iran into abandoning its megalomaniac aspirations and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The 2009 visit reflected a worldview focusing on the Palestinian issue as the, supposed, core cause of Middle East turbulence, the crown jewel of Islamic policy-making, an essential link in forging an anti-Iran Arab coalition and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Israel was perceived as a secondary ally, at best, and a burden, at worst.

    However, the Middle East has defied Obama’s assumptions and world view.  None of Obama’s Middle East goals were achieved, highlighting the increasingly violent and unpredictable anti-US Islamic Street,totally independent of the Palestinian issue. The tumultuous Islamic Winter – from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf – has further accentuated Israel as the only stable, predictable, commercially and militarily capable, innovative, democratic and unconditional ally of the US.

    The March, 2013 visit to Israel will take place as the threats to critical US interests – which are endangering the entire Free World – are intensifying daily.  The Iranian nuclear sand clock is running out, causing panic among US Arab allies, exposing the futility of diplomacy and sanctionsThe lava on the Islamic Street threatens to sweep Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and additional members of the dwindling club of pro-US Arab regimes, ridiculing the “Arab Springers.”  Iraq is disintegrating, becoming an Iranian subsidiary and an arena for global terrorism, rather than an island of free election, mocking the delusion of Arab democracy.  Egypt has been transformed from a pro-US outpost into a chief catalyst of the anti-Western trans-national Muslim Brotherhood revolution. In contrast with the “Palestine Firsters,” Arab leaders are pre-occupied with their tectonic home-front and the lethal Iranian threat, not with the Palestinian issue, which has never been their top concern, irrespective of their rhetoric.

    The March, 2013 visit to Israel will take place at a time when the stormy Arab Winter clarifies that the win-win US-Israel strategic cooperation does not evolve around the Palestinian issue, but around mutual regional and global threats. Thus, while the threats to US targets on the mainland and abroad are mounting and US power-projection is declining, Israel emerges as the only effective battle-tested allywhich can pull the hottest chestnuts out of the fire, for the US, without American boots on the ground.

    In the face of dramatic threats in 2013President Obama could facilitate a dramatic enhancement of the mutually-beneficial bilateral strategic cooperation.  For example, the upgrading of Israel’s port of Ashdod into a home port for the Sixth Fleet; the relocation of advance aircraft, missiles, tanks and counter-terrorism systems, from Europe to Israel, for US use in case of emergencies in Jordan and the Gulf area.   US focus on mutual threats, rather than on the Palestinian issue, would reassure Riyadh and deter Teheran.

    The March, 2013 visit follows the January 22, 2013 Israeli election, which was dominated by “It’s the economy, stupid!”   The Israeli constituent is skeptical about the “peace process” and the land-for-peace formula, does not trust Mahmoud Abbas and is weary of further “painful concessions.”  The only national security challenge which concerns most Israelis is the Iranian nuclear threat.

    In 1981, President Reagan pressured Prime Minister Begin brutally against bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor, lest it trigger a regional war.  Israel defied the US, which thanked Israel following the 1991Gulf War “for sparing the US a nuclear confrontation.”  Will President Obama attempt to handcuff Israel, or will he leverage Israel’s experienced hands to spare the US and the Free World devastating consequences?!

    President Obama may decide to ignore Middle East reality, subordinate US-Israel relations to the Palestinian issue, and pressure/entice Israel into further concessions. He should note the negative results of US pressure on Israel.  For example, Israel’s unprecedented November, 2009 ten-month construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria radicalized Mahmoud Abbas’ position. Israel’s unprecedented concessions at Camp David, in July, 2000, triggered the Second Intifada’s unprecedented wave of terrorism. The US pressure to allow Hamas’ participation in the January, 2006 election resulted in two wars in Gaza.

    According to Max Fisher’s 1992 biography, Quiet DiplomatPresident Eisenhower admitted that “I should have never pressured Israel to evacuate the Sinai,” which fueled President Nasser’s anti-American radicalism.

    The March, 2013 visit to Israel will indicate whether President Obama is determined to learn from history by avoiding, or by repeating, critical errors.

    Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend,

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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 8:05 pm | 14 Comments »

    14 Comments to Obama’s visit to Israel – continuity or change?

    1. the phoenix says:

      The March, 2013 visit to Israel will indicate whether [husein] is determined to learn from history by avoiding, or by repeating, critical errors.

      he might visit parts of Israel not seen before, while he was touring as a senator.
      he was given a forum to promote his LIES about Israel and JERUSALEM..,,.
      Now, five years later he might see unknow sights till now.
      This bastard may just see some gorgeous grassy knolls known to adorn the landscape…

    2. the phoenix says:

      “Meridor: Israel Should Stop Building in ‘Settlement Blocs'”

      god, this is depressing…
      is there not ONE person in deeeee land of milk and honey that can put this bastard (literally and figuratively) in his place???

    3. the phoenix says:

      i would encourage everybody to read the link that yamit has provided in his comment to me on the “Israel must pull out of settlements, UN report says ” thread:

      Parashat Bo – No concessions!

    4. NormanF says:

      the phoenix Said:

      “Meridor: Israel Should Stop Building in ‘Settlement Blocs’”
      god, this is depressing…
      is there not ONE person in deeeee land of milk and honey that can put this bastard (literally and figuratively) in his place???

      Dan Meridor is angling for a post-government career with Israel’s leftist media. He always was the most leftist politician in the Likud. Good riddance to this self-hating Jewish scum.

    5. Sam Goldblatt says:

      If the Israelis and Netanyahu treat Obama disrespectfully or worse – it will play right into Obama’s hands. He wants to be able to show the American public and media how Israel is now a nation of racist goons. His strategy is to cut the cord with Israel. That’s what the Hagel appointment is all about. Most of the top military brass shares Hagel’s view of Israel.

    6. NormanF says:

      Sam Goldblatt Said:

      If the Israelis and Netanyahu treat Obama disrespectfully or worse – it will play right into Obama’s hands. He wants to be able to show the American public and media how Israel is now a nation of racist goons. His strategy is to cut the cord with Israel. That’s what the Hagel appointment is all about. Most of the top military brass shares Hagel’s view of Israel.

      Israel has survived far worse. America needs Israel far more than Israel needs America. The White House can set the tone for the next four years.

    7. Nigel Shaw says:

      Don’t worry America – Israel is behind you!

    8. Shmuel HaLevi says:

      @ Sam Goldblatt:
      Sam, we have the same name… but that is all …
      I enjoyed from decades long work with the US military as a Senior-Fellow staff Engineer, Military Avionics. As part of my very much fantastic job I had the privilege of interfacing with hundreds if not thousands of US ranking officers up to and including Mr. Powell himself when he visited the facility. I never sensed that “the military” had inimical feelings against Israel, perhaps at times jealousy when Israeli pilots whooped theirs during top gun games.
      Why don’t you tell us from where you get your foam guy?

    9. Alan says:

      Frankly I highly doubt Obama has learned anything from his arrogant and stupid policies in the Middle East, particularly Israel, the past 4 years. If anything too, Romney and the Republicans also stupidly dropped the ball during the election when they WOULDN’T (or ignored) pound Obama over 1.6 Billion US taxpayer dollars going to Hamas at a time Americans were suffering at home (unless they were going to adhere to the same policies of funding our enemies…without the open animus Boy Barry has displayed towards Israel).

      In choosing the likes of Benedict Arnold’s great-great grandson Kerry (at least Arnold won crucial battles for America before turning traitor – WHAT DID KERRY EVER DO?), a incompetent, ignorant RINO who not only would look great in an SS uniform – he shares their views too, in Hagel, and a typical bureacrat who’d serve any master paying him to do evil – Brennan (he too would gladly serve the SS), Obama has clearly shown he has NOT learned a damn thing. He still thinks Jews – and America – should not support a “Likud” entity (Israel), he will still give weapons and money to those who hate us, i.e., the Palestinians and Egypt’s Muzzy Bro, and he will do absolutely NOTHING about Iran (Hagel’s nomination is as clear an indicator of that as anything else could be, despite the rants of our local lefties Freyman and Catty to try and say otherwise.

      Israelis should protest his arrival – and protest loudly and clearly. In fact if he tries to shop there, he should be afforded the same treatment New Orleans establishments rendered NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, i.e., no service. Period. Maybe he’d get the message then – but that too is highly doubtful for the most ignorant occupant of the White House in American History. Lincoln is surely turning over in his grave!

    10. the phoenix says:

      @ Alan:

      no service. Period

      AND THAT’S IT????

    11. Honey Bee says:

      @ Sam Goldblatt:

      Hold your friends close and you enemies even closer

    12. Alan says:

      @ the phoenix:
      Well, Phoenix, maybe a tar and feathering will do…any other suggestions you can say – I don’t need knocks on my door if you know what I mean.

    13. Honey Bee says:

      @ Nigel Shaw:

      A man with a sence of humor, Bees like that!!!!!!!!!!!

    14. Nigel Shaw says:

      Honey, I’m home!

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