So much spin from so many mavens.
They think they know what makes me tick, what will shape my decisions. But they are really trying to tell me what to do. The left-leaning journalistas think Israel’s Holocaust obsession (their crude phrase) will lead the Jewish State to attack Iran. They are joined by American Jews for whom self-defense and Israeli security are more problematic than Palestinian terror.
I know what my opponents told President Obama and his team. That I bend to pressure and will cave to American interests. So they tried to intimidate me and Israel by condemning the construction of a few apartments in a crowded Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem more viciously then they condemned terror.
I did not waver. To me the President’s statement was not just another example of a belief that “getting tough” with Israel was necessary to win over the Palestinians and Arab states and form a grand alliance to pressure Iran into not going nuclear. Every administration makes this mistake in one way or another. But Obama really believed that Israel needed to be brought down a peg. The American “silence” in the face of the Goldstone report and international criticism of our enforcement of the naval blockade was not just calculated but the product of a worldview in which democracies should defend themselves in terms acceptable to the UN.
All it did was signal to Abu Mazen that Obama could not be counted on to stand up to Iran or stand by us if we had to go to war again against Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran. And in the weird world of Middle East politics, Obama’s words and deeds made Abu Mazen and other Arab states who fear Iran less confident about America. If I were Abbas I would dig my heels in too. Without America willing to stand up to terrorism (what was the deal about trying to sweet talk Syria out of transferring missiles to Hezbollah with promises of an American ambassador to Damascus?) he is weaker, not stronger. And by making settlements an issue the Obama administration made our “partner in peace” more vulnerable to Hamas.
Obama called the murder of four Israelis by Hamas terrorists “a senseless act of violence.” Wrong again. It was a direct result of removing security checkpoints and turning the patrol of the highway where the four were killed to Palestinian security forces. And it’s only the beginning.
Both my friends and enemies take my caution as a sign of weakness. But I’ve already made my decision: I will not let the West determine Israel’s destiny. I told Obama, “We left Lebanon, we got terror. We left Gaza, we got terror. We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be turned into a third Iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel.”
The West will pressure Israel to take down even more security checkpoints, require the massive relocation of entire communities and the partitioning Jerusalem. And it will try again to entrust Israel’s security to hapless international forces.
The only way a Palestinian state would not become a forward base for Iran and threaten Israel is if the West can guarantee that Iran will not have a military nuclear capability. The Palestinians and Arab states have a problem; to them peace is a smaller, weaker Israel limited by world opinion, perpetually indicted for acting in self-defense by the media and international courts. But a smaller, weaker Israel will be unable to prevent Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah from launching an attack or spreading weapons. That means Arab states would not support meaningful sanctions or military action against Iran to eliminate its nuclear weapons capability. I still don’t know if Obama understands how all this is connected.
No one wants war. But the greatest threats to world security over the past 100 years are focused on exterminating the Jewish people. Days before The Six Day War, then-Prime Minister Levi Eschol told Menachem Begin he worried the risk of casualties and enraging Arabs more were too high. Begin told Eschol: “We are going to war. When an enemy of our people says he intends to destroy us, the first thing we have to do is to believe him. People did not believe Hitler. The Arabs say they want to destroy us and so we must believe them. We must seize the initiative and destroy our enemies first.”
If forced, Israel will do the same today. The people of Israel have lived 3,800 years without American or international approval and it will continue to live for another 3,800. It may be the only way we can.