Peace in the Middle East: It’s been the elusive, dream-like goal of every president – and half of America’s beauty-pageant contestants – for decades.
But as yet another president attempts to achieve the seemingly impossible, that loud smacking sound you hear is the collective facepalm of thousands of Israelis who know this president, like too many before him, is going about it all the wrong way.
“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is preoccupied with the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, as a means to advance peace and American interests,” writes Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, before the former minister for congressional affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington lists in painful detail America’s many blunders in trying to engineer peace in the Mideast.
Ettinger cites the State Department’s opposition to a Jewish state in 1948; presidential support for the pro-U.S.S.R. Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s; presidential support for a fellow named Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and ’80s; the abandonment of the Shah of Iran in 1979, which led to the Islamist revolution of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; the embrace of Palestinian terror leader Yasser Arafat; the administration’s encouragement in 2005 and 2006 of uprooting Jewish communities from Gaza and the participation of radical terrorist organization Hamas in the Palestinian election; and the current administrations’ long record of backing rebellion across the Mideast, which has cleared the path for the rise of radical, Islamist forces as part of the “Arab Spring.”
Apparently U.S. presidents, Ettinger implies, have a bad record of accurately identifying the bad guys.
And now the Obama administration wants to establish a Palestinian state as a path to peace?
“A Palestinian state would reward a regime which is referred to by much of its population as ‘modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah,’ and has driven Christians away from Bethlehem. It would add another anti-U.S. vote at the U.N.,” argues Ettinger. “Both Hamas and the PLO follow in the footsteps of Palestinian leaders, who collaborated with Nazi Germany, the Communist Bloc, Khomeini, Saddam and bin Laden, and currently with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other rogue regimes.
“Hence, the proposal to establish a Palestinian state proves that policymakers are determined to learn from history by repeating – rather than avoiding – past dramatic blunders,” Ettinger concludes.
A number of recent polls show Israelis tend to agree, regardless of whether they’re ethnically Jewish or Arab.
The most recent survey of adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs) – conducted Jan. 8 by Maagar-Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting Institute Ltd. and reported by the Israeli news organization Independent Media Review Analysis – asked, “Will the negotiations today via the USA lead to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians?”
Eighty percent of the respondents said, “No.” Only nine percent said, “Yes.”
In a similar poll conducted in July 2013, Israelis were asked, “In principle, are you for or against signing a full peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of the 1967 borders, including the exchange of territory and release of prisoners?” Fifty-seven percent were against it, to only 29 percent in favor.
Specific elements of potential peace plans also break down, as 73 percent opposed removing the Israeli Defense Forces from the Jordan Valley, 70 percent opposed evacuating Israelis and 53 to 34 percent opposed dividing and exchanging territories between Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine as part of a two-state solution.
Furthermore, the polling suggests Jewish Israelis are skeptical in part because of the American leaders involved in the process.
In a separate Maagar poll surveying only Jewish Israeli Hebrew-speaking adults, respondents were asked, “Do you count on American Secretary of State John Kerry as an honest broker in the dispute between us and the Palestinians?”
Fifty-three percent answered, “No,” and another 26.7 percent answered, “Don’t know.”
Ettinger also points out the Jordanians have had cause to question a Palestinian-state strategy.
“During the October 1994 signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty top Jordanian military commanders urged their Israeli counterparts to refrain from establishing a Palestinian state, ‘lest it destroy the [pro-U.S.] Hashemite regime,’” Ettinger writes. “Coupled with a terror-dominated Iraq, it would initiate a domino scenario, sweeping Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other oil-producing Arab regimes, causing havoc to the supply and price of oil and devastating the U.S. economy.”
Ettinger specifically suggests that Obama and Kerry should not be allowed to forge ahead on their “peace plans” without serious congressional oversight.
“Congress cannot relinquish its constitutional responsibility to probe, independently, the critical implications of a Palestinian state upon the U.S. economy, core values, and homeland and national security, as well as upon the stability of pro-U.S. Arab regimes in particular, and the Middle East in general,” he writes. “Independent congressional scrutiny of this Palestinian state-driven policy is doubly essential against the backdrop of the systematic U.S. Middle East policy failures since 1947.”