U.S. President Barack Obama’s May 19 Middle East speech was significant in crucial respects.
In the speech he called for Israel to return to the borders it had before the 1967 war (with minor adjustments) so Israel and the Palestinians can finally have a lasting peace.
In rational circles, this is called punishing your friends and rewarding your enemies.
What was life like in Israel before the 1967 Six-Day War? Israel is tiny and vulnerable—that’s why Arab armies have massed against it, threatening Israel with extinction in several wars. Pre-1967 Israel was only about 12 miles wide in some places!
Some of you are old enough to remember the situation in Israel before 1967. Syria held the Golan Heights and regularly used farms and settlements in northern Israel for artillery target practice. The Egyptian-controlled Sinai Desert and the Jordanian-controlled Jordan Valley were sieves through which terrorists regularly infiltrated to carry out attacks on Israel while the Egyptian and Jordanian armies looked the other way.
In May 1967 Egypt blockaded the Israeli outlet to the Red Sea from the port of Eilat, which was an internationally recognized act of war, and Israel had enough. In six days its army captured the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
Those who are terminally naïve and live in a fantasy world believe that if only Israel would return those lands, peace would miraculously blossom in the Middle East.
A brief history lesson is in order.
Some of you remember the PLO—Palestine Liberation Organization—made famous by its terrorist leader, Yassir Arafat. It was founded in 1964—three years before the 1967 Six-Day War.
Question: Which “Palestine” was the “Palestine Liberation Organization” founded to “liberate” when it formed in 1964?
Answer: It sure wasn’t founded to “liberate” the Golan Heights (controlled by Syria in 1964), the West Bank (controlled by Jordan in 1964) or Gaza (controlled by Egypt in 1964).
It was formed to “liberate” all of the Holy Land from the presence of Israel. That has been the unflinching goal ever since.
If you look up the PLO emblem on the Internet, you’ll notice that it includes an outline map covering all of the so-called “Palestinian territories” plus the entirety of the land of Israel.
The PLO is a confederation of organizations, the most well known being Yassir Arafat’s Fatah and its chief rival, Hamas. Fatah rules the West Bank and Hamas rules the Gaza Strip.
You can also look up the Hamas emblem on the Internet. You’ll notice that it includes crossed swords, the Dome of the Rock (in Jerusalem) and an outline map at the top which again includes all of the so-called “Palestinian territories” plus the entirety of the land of Israel.
Just last month Hamas and Fatah agreed to join forces to form a joint government and present a common front in dealing with Israel. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada and Japan. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, from which rockets and mortar shells have been continually fired into Israel since Israel’s 2005 withdrawal. Their latest outrage was when they fired an anti-tank missile at a clearly marked Israeli schoolbus, injuring the driver and one teenage student (who died of his wounds 10 days later).
Lest we forget, in the year 2000 Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat about 95 percent of the territory Arafat said he wanted, but Arafat refused. Why did he not take it then? Apparently, we learned later, because Arafat feared he would’ve been assassinated by his own countrymen if he dared to compromise even that little bit with Israel.
And these are the people Israel is supposed to be making peace with? Again, this is called punishing your friends and rewarding your enemies.
The President’s speech included one more especially ominous quote. He said, “Israel must be able to defend itself— by itself —against any threat.”
Israel has long been America’s only reliable ally in that part of the world. The only one. It is the only genuine democracy in a region dominated by tyrants of every stripe. In earlier wars when Israel was threatened with extinction, previous U.S. presidents intervened to supply Israel with munitions (but no military personnel) to prevent Israel from being overrun by armies that outnumbered them many times over. Despite this longstanding history and outward assurances of continued U.S. support, this seems to be a clear message that the Obama administration is willing to throw Israel under the bus in the vain hope of some fantasy-land “peace” process that will never come to pass in this lifetime.
If these statements in the President’s speech stand, and if they truly represent the position the U.S government is taking toward Israel, we may be seeing the beginning of the end of Israel as we know it. It’s hard to imagine how the stakes could get much higher.