It looks like Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has become the Obama Administration’s point person on the Middle East.
As I noted here yesterday, Panetta criticized Israel for isolating itself with regard to the Palestinians as well as its relations with Egypt and Turkey.
During a press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, Panetta demanded that Congress restore $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. Congress blocked the aid last month after Mahmoud Abbas applied for statehood at the UN.
This is not an encouraging sign. Well, aside from the fact that aid to the Palestinians is misused and aside from the fact the evidence suggests there is a corelation between aid and Palestinian violence against Israel, the Obama Administration is effectively rewarding Abbas’ behavior by demanding the aid be restored. In fact, the Obama Administration is telling the world that there are no consequences for Abbas’ actions. It’s business as usual. The Obama Administration is not bringing any pressure to bear against the Palestinian Authority. They have reserved all their pressure for Israel.
One must wonder if the Obama Administration has reconsidered its veto on Palestinian statehood at the UN Security Council.
Under the circumstances, Congress would be wise to reject Panetta’s edict.