Netanyahu Needs To Stop Appeasing Obama

By BIG PEACE | by Rachel Ehrenfeld
Saturday, November 20th, 2010 @ 10:49PM

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Following in the footsteps of his political predecessors, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is selling the Jewish birthright to the land of Israel for less than a bowl of lentil stew. His willingness to betray the Israeli government’s mandate to serve as the custodian of the Jewish State is tragic. Moreover, the territory he is negotiating is not his to give.
When Netanyahu caved in to the Obama administration by freezing Israeli construction in November 2009 as a prerequisite to renewed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), opponents of the move cautioned that the freeze would set a dangerous precedent. It would, they argued, reset the bar for Israeli concessions to any future engagements with the Palestinian Authority. The freeze also weakens Israel’s sovereignty over the land, advancing Palestinian claims of disputed ownership of the territory.
Incredibly, the Prime Minister, as the Obama Administration, ignore Resolution 338, passed by the U.N. in 1973, after the Yom Kippur war. In a 2002 op-ed in The New York Times, Columbia University Law Professor George P. Fletcher, criticized  former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, for labeling the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza “as a violation of law.”
The Resolution, Fletcher argued, “imposes an obligation on Israel and the Arabs to negotiate peace. Because it insisted that the Palestinians negotiate an end to the Israeli presence, the Security Council could not have thought the occupation itself violated international law.” But Annan succeeded, and since then the pressure on Israel to end its “illegal” occupation has escalated, together with calls to restrict its rightful legitimate construction of Israeli communities.
In November 2009, Netanyahu promised that the freeze was a temporary one-time measure. The freeze ended in last September.
Merely two months later, Netanyahu is pushing for a renewed construction freeze in Israeli territory, rationalizing his decision with American promises for incentives such as political support from the Obama administration in the UN, and a $3 billion arms deal. Netanyahu thus turns a blind eye to fact that the Obama Administration suddenly abandoned the U.S. long standing support of Israel, choosing instead a policy of blackmail and threats  that Israel can no longer depend on U.S. support in the pro- Arab, pro- Muslim U.N.
Netanyahu should have rallied Israel’s supporters in Congress and the media to foil the  hostile policy of the domestically weakened Obama Administration. Instead he seems to cave in to the White House pressure to cede Israeli land to the Palestinians, who as usual, continue to violate prior agreements, while threatening renewal of hostilities.

 

Netanyahu seems to ignore some basic lessons of history.
The Israeli government is the guardian of the land of Israel, a land to which the Jews have a historic and natural right predating the existence of the current state, modern nations, and international bodies. This right, known since the end of the 13th century BC, was expressed in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Mandate of the League of Nations in 1920, and the UN resolution of 1947.
Thus, the land of Israel is not Netanyhu‘s to give. Nor was it former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s to give when he offered Yasser Arafat 92% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and sovereignty over East Jerusalem and half of Jerusalem’s Old City at Camp David in 2000. The PA’s responded with the second Intefada, killing more than 1100Israelis, and injuring over 6000. Nor was it Sharon’s to give in 2005 when he carried out a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, ripping more than 9,000 of his citizens out of their homes during Disengagement, This Disengagement led to a barrage of thousands of Kassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, killing and maiming thousands of civilian Israelis, devastating daily life, destroying any sense of security for more than 200,000 residents of the western Negev. Nor was it former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s to give, when in 2008 he offered Mahmoud Abbas to internationalize Jerusalem, and territory equivalent to 100% of the West Bank, with a naïve condition that this “will not be used as an opening position in future negotiations. But no matter what conditions were attached to the Israeli concessions, all were considered by the Palestinians and their allies as further Israeli concessions.
In bartering away Jewish territory, the Prime Minister undermines the Jewish history, identity, religion, and security with which the land is inextricably intertwined.
Second, every proposed Israeli concession results in further Palestinian demands and bolsters the bargaining position of the PA. Israel negotiates with the PA despite the fact that the Palestinians and their Arab backers continue to vow that the first step to ”end all forms of hostilities and commence normal and peaceful relations with the State of Israel,” will happen only after Israel’s withdrawal to pre-1967 borders.
Since the Oslo Accords, the Israelis have failed to convey to the world that they are negotiating with the PA not because the Palestinians claims for growing swaths of lands are right, but only because Israel yearns for peace.
Consequently, any suggestion by Israeli officials is held as the new minimum standard for Israeli concessions. Moreover, every Israeli compromise is perceived by the Arab world as a sign of weakness, and provokes additional demands and hostilities.
Third, Netanyahu seems to overlook U.S. President Barack Obama’s role in the Middle East. Obama – who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his restoring Western relations with the Muslim world – is committed to the implementation of the Middle East ‘peace’ plan proposed in 2002 by then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
The two-state solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict – King Abdullah’s linchpin of the ‘peace’ plan for the region – is now regarded as the only peaceful alternative for the Middle East. Earlier this year, inexplicably, Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to refer to it by name, lending the concept undue legitimacy and credence.
Netanyahu’s seeming amenability to the freeze weakens Israeli sovereignty, violates his mandate to protect the Jewish State, and invites a new round of excessive demands by the Palestinians and their supporters, endangering the State of Israel.
It is time for Netanyahu to stop appeasing the declining American Administration. It is time for him to keep his promises and fulfill the Prime Minister’s obligations to the Jewish State and the Jewish people, protecting the security and integrity. Accordingly, and as a first step, he should refuse to freeze rightful and legitimate Jewish construction on Israeli land.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is Director of NYC based American Center for Democracy; This article was first published in Hebrew, in the Israeli magazine, Maraah.


Categories: U.S. Policy

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