Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama
JERUSALEM – Could President Obama’s decision to sidestep Congress and strike Libya as part of an international coalition put the U.S. on a military collision course with Israel?
While the prospect of American or Western forces confronting Israeli troops may seem remote, one Middle East policy expert is warning the precedent set by Obama in agreeing to target Libya opens the door to other possible United Nations-backed confrontations, including perhaps one day with Israel.
“Particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Gaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel,” writes Frank Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy.
In a piece this week entitled “U.N. intervention into Libya an ominous precedent for Israel,” Gaffney spells out a possible scenario whereby an international coalition, including the U.S., could militarily threaten Israel just as it is striking Libya.
Gaffney notes the Palestinian Authority is attempting to bring a U.N. resolution that would unilaterally declare a Palestinian state outside of negotiations with Israel.
Such a resolution seeks international legal recognition for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, meaning inside the Gaza Strip, West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, technically including the Temple Mount.
While it is not yet clear whether the Obama administration will ultimately support such a move, PA officials told WND on numerous occasions the U.S. has indicated it may not veto a U.N. vote to declare a Palestinian state.
In a previous WND interview, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, said the PA “reached an understanding with important elements within the (Obama) administration” to possibly bring the resolution to the U.N. Security Council.
Asked to which “elements” he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.
A top PA negotiator, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity, named the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, and National Security Council member Samantha Power as among the Obama administration officials who were involved with the Palestinians’ U.N. threat.
“The U.S. told us that they prefer a negotiated settlement with Israel, but if we (Palestinians) insist on a resolution, the Americans will not necessarily reject it,” the PA negotiator said.
“The U.S. has a history of never before vetoing any U.N. move to create a new state,” the negotiator pointed out.
Should the U.N. unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, Gaffney warns, the move may put the U.S. and Israel on a military collision course.
Writes Gaffney: “With a stroke of the U.N.’s collective pen, substantial numbers of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli citizens find themselves on the wrong side of internationally recognized borders. The Palestinian Authority (PA) insists on its longstanding position: The sovereign territory of Palestine must be rid of all Jews.”
Gaffney envisions a scenario in which Israel refuses to evacuate its Jewish communities and military stations from the newly recognized Palestinian state, leading the PA to seek international help to “liberate” its so-called land.
Another scenario not directly pointed to by Gaffney could involve the PA asking the international community for help to oppose any future Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip or West Bank should the U.N. unilaterally impose a Palestinian state there.
“As with the Gaddafi Precedent,” Gaffney predicts, “the first to act is the Arab League. Its members unanimously endorse the use of force to protect the ‘Palestinian people’ and end the occupation of the West Bank by the Israelis.”
He continues: “Turkey (which is still a NATO ally, despite its ever-more-aggressive embrace of Islamism) is joined by Britain and France – two European nations increasingly hostile to Israel – in applauding this initiative in the interest of promoting ‘peace.’ They call on the U.N. Security Council to authorize such steps as might be necessary to enforce the Arab League’s bidding.”
“Accordingly, hard as it may be to believe given the United States’ longstanding role as Israel’s principal ally and protector, Mr. Obama acts, in accordance with the Gaddafi Precedent. He warns Israel that it must immediately take steps to dismantle its unwanted presence inside the internationally recognized State of Palestine, lest it face the sort of U.S.-enabled ‘coalition’ military measures now underway in Libya. In this case, they would be aimed at neutralizing IDF forces on the West Bank – and beyond, if necessary – to fulfill the “will of the international community.”
Gaffney warns, “Of course, such steps would not result in the ostensibly desired end-game, namely ‘two states living side by side in peace and security.’ If the current attack on Libya entails the distinct possibility of unintended (or at least unforeseen) consequences, application of the Gaddafi Precedent to Israel seems certain to produce a very different outcome than the two-state ‘solution’: Under present and foreseeable circumstances, it will unleash a new regional war, with possible worldwide repercussions.”