On March 2, 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama addressed an AIPAC foreign policy forum in Chicago, Illinois. Here is what he had to say: We should all be concerned about the agreement negotiated among Palestinians in Mecca last month.The reports of this agreement suggest that Hamas, Fatah, and independent ministers would sit in a government together, under a Hamas Prime Minister, without any recognition of Israel, without a renunciation of violence, and with only an ambiguous promise to "respect" previous agreements.
This should concern us all because it suggests that Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Palestinian leader I believe is committed to peace, felt forced to compromise with Hamas. However, if we are serious about the Quartet's conditions, we must tell the Palestinians this is not good enough.
For those of us that support the state of Israel and wish for nothing more than peace with security for her beleaguered people, these were welcomed words.
So what's changed since then? If candidate Obama was worried about a Palestinian unity government containing an unrepentant Hamas sworn to Israel's destruction in 2007, why during his presidency has he relentlessly inveigled Israel into making concessions to a "government" that sooner or later will contain this terrorist organization?
Since the time of his AIPAC speech, none of Obama's Middle East pontifications have proven correct or come to pass. Why is this so? Why, if anything, is peace between Israel and the Palestinians farther away today than any time before his administration came into office? The answers are simple but many.
First and foremost, Obama has built and continues to build the foundation of his Middle East foreign policy on a house-of-cards framework of incorrect assumptions. Most glaring among them is the idea that the dispute can be settled through the unmistakably inane policy of land for peace.
Time and time again, from 1948, through the reign of deceased PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat, to Arafat's partner and co-founder of the PLO, current President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians have proven that land and statehood are secondary to destroying the state of Israel and its Jewish character. Despite the obviousness of this fact, successive presidents and their secretaries of state, for inexplicable reasons, keep pushing this moribund paradigm.
Between 1993 and 2001, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed six agreements with Israel and conducted countless meetings and summits to bring about a lasting peace between them. Each Israeli concession has been met with Palestinian non-compliance and escalating violence. Six times, Palestinians have failed to honor their commitments and increased their anti-Israeli aggressions. Finally, they broke every promise made and began an all-out guerrilla war against Israel and its citizens.
The logic -- or better, the illogic of land for peace became the basis for Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in May 2000. It didn't take long for this formula to unravel. Soon after, Hezb'allah laid claim not only to the land vacated by Israel, but to seven villages in the Galilee, a region well within Israel's recognized borders.
That same year, according to Dennis Ross, U.S. chief negotiator at Camp David, Arafat turned down the following proposal, which had already been accepted by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Shared control of Jerusalem.
97% of the West Bank (one contiguous stretch).
Right of return to the new Palestinian homeland.
An international presence in the Jordan Valley.
Having conceded every condition demanded by the Palestinians, in lieu of peace and an independent Palestinian state, Arafat chose the second intifada, resulting in the death of over 1,000 Israelis and approximately 3,000 Palestinians. Once again it was proven: land and statehood are not and have never been the least common denominator of this conflict.
The same held true five years after, when, in a bid for peace, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismantled every Jewish "settlement" in Gaza, disenfranchising over 10,000 Jews. The net result of this fiasco is that Southern Israel, once free of violence, remains to this very day, despite two major wars, a hotbed of Palestinian terrorism.
In more recent years, former Prime Minister Olmert offered an unprecedented compromise over the Holy Basin, which includes the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism...here again to no avail.
In an effort to placate Palestinian recalcitrance and entice them back to the negotiating table, Prime Minister Netanyahu on November 25, 2009 declared a ten-month moratorium on construction of housing in Judea/Samaria (the West Bank). Ten months came and ten months went; the Palestinians reciprocated with more demands and nothing else.
With the primary issue of land for peace debunked, let's examine Israel's potential "Partner for Peace," Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts in the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Two weeks ago at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, PA Chairman Abbas sanctimoniously proclaimed that the PA does not incite to hatred and does not educate to discriminate against Judaism, but rather strives to "spread the culture of peace." But the reality is quite different from the rhetoric.
Since the Palestinian Authority was established, it has systematically indoctrinated young and old to hate Israelis and Jews. Using media, education, and cultural structures that it controls, the PA has actively promoted religious hatred, demonization, and conspiracy libels. These are packaged to present Israelis and Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. This ongoing campaign has so successfully instilled hatred that fighting, murder, and even suicide terror against Israelis and Jews are seen by the majority of Palestinians as justified self-defense and as Allah's will.
As seen in his 2007 address to AIPAC, our president wishes to deem Abbas and the PA moderate. Perhaps in comparison to Hamas, Hezb'allah, Islamic Jihad, and others of this ilk, which do not even feign moderation, they are moderate. But by traditional norms, their history refutes this assumption.
Yet, with quixotic determination, Obama continues to cajole Israel to negotiate with this man, who has no real standing with his own people, could not deliver peace even if he wished to (which he does not), and predicates an agreement upon a defunct policy which will render neither peace nor security to the Jewish state.
Failing to recognize the ineptitude of his first-term Middle East foreign policy, the president pushes on. According to a published report in the May 26 New York Times, Secretary of State John Kerry intends to invest as much as four billion dollars of American taxpayer dollars to develop the economy of the West Bank in the hope of spurring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. You'll more likely see that money in an Abbas Swiss bank account before that ever happens.
It was at the aforementioned World Economic Forum two weeks ago where, flanked by the nugatory President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the equally irrelevant Abbas, Kerry generously offered this bribe. He then went on to say, "Negotiations can't succeed if you don't negotiate" -- a very profound but naive statement.
Unfortunately, negotiations to a greater or lesser degree have been tried for 65 years, and they've all come to naught, for the same reason this president and others before him cannot come to grip with. The ultimate goal of the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters is not a two-state "let's all live in peace" solution to the Middle East conflict. Their unabashed aim continues to be the elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel.
Albert Einstein, the pre-eminent German-born physicist, amongst all his accomplishments, is famous for the following quote: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
This is a quote President Obama and John Kerry might be wise to consider as they attempt to coax the Palestinians, whose proven goal is not peace, but domination.
June 9, 2013