December 12, 2010
Hillary's Tilt against IsraelBy Leo Rennert
Secretary of State Clinton's reset of U.S. Mideast peace strategy again tilts heavily against Israel. But give Team Obama credit for persistence. Having failed to advance the peace process by obsessing about Jewish settlements and demanding unilateral Israeli concessions up front, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the administration's Plan B, which is just as flawed in its hurry to create a Palestinian state without adequate attention to Israeli security needs.
In her speech at the Brookings Institution, Clinton again demonstrated why this administration, notwithstanding its claim to be an honest broker, is anything but.
In both her analysis of the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and her new push for U.S. mediation, Clinton gave Palestinian Authority leaders a pass while showing no such forbearance to Israeli concerns and interests..
So let's examine and parse what the real obstacles to peace are, according to Clinton?
"Lack of peace and the occupation that began in 1967," she declared, "continue to deprive the Palestinian people of dignity and self-determination." She painted Israel as the heavy by declaring that the administration does "not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity" and their "continued expansion."
Putting all the onus on Israel, she told her audience at Brookings that Israel badly needs a two-state solution because the "day is rapidly approaching" when Jews will be a minority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River -- a demographic timebomb requiring a quick fix. In similar vein, she warned that the advent of rockets and missiles in the hands of terrorist neighbors can be met in only one way -- with a "peace agreement."
And all the while, she heaped fulsome praise on the leadership of PA President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.
There is more than a whiff of unreality in these basic premises of Clinton's analysis of the dangers facing Israel and her prescriptions of how to counter them.
For one thing, Israel repeatedly has offered the Palestinians an end to "occupation" via two-state initiatives -- only to have them summarily rejected by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. It is not Israel's fault that Palestinian leaders to this day have not and are not in a mood to reach a sensible compromise.
Also, to expect an end to Hezb'allah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad rocket fire once Israel signs a two-state peace agreement with the PA is nothing more than a fanciful flight into dreamland.
As for Clinton's warning about a demographic time bomb threatening the Jewish character of Israel, there are any number of qualified demographers who reject the notion that Jews will be a minority between the river and the sea anytime soon.
The Secretary similarly ignored inconvenient truths in her denunciation of Jewish settlements For example, she failed to acknowledge that settlements occupy less than 2 percent of the West Bank and that under both Ehud Olmert and now Netanyahu, Israel has not built a single new settlement or expanded exing ones.
Also, while piling on Israel, Clinton never mentioned the Palestinian Authority's all-out campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, glorify terrorists, and teach Palestinian children to pursue a one-state solution -- a single Palestinian state from the river to the sea that would erase Israel from the map. Shouldn't these obstacles be as noteworthy as "occupation" and "settlements"?
The only remote suggestion that Palestinian leaders may be hampering the peace process came when Clinton cautioned against "demonizing the other side" or pursuing "unilateral efforts at the United Nations" -- without ever mentioning exactly who was engages in such practices. Her praise of Abbas and Fayyad was unalloyed.
As for the new U.S. mediation agenda, Clinton said the administration would push first and foremost for a quick solution on final borders -- a priority amenable to Abbas but hardly in sync with Netanyahu's insistence that borders must be discussed in tandem with security and other issues of vital importance to Israel.
Nor will the Israeli side be encouraged by Clinton's high praise for the Arab Peace Initiative, which would require Israel to grant millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants a right of return to Israel -- a real demographic time-bomb.
While Clinton lauded the PA's efforts at institution-building and the booming Palestinian economy in the West Bank, she gave scant credit to Israel, instead demanding a "significant" reduction in further Israeli troop incursions into Palestinian areas. No mention that Israel already has paid dearly for dismantling scores of roadblocks and checkpoints -- a policy that has made it easier for Palestinian terrorists to kill and injure Jewish residents.
Clinton brushed over such real security threats, even as she was piously declaring that the Obama administration's commitment to Israel's security is "rock-solid and unwavering."
The U.S. as honest-broker under Obama and Clinton? Think again.
The great irony in the wake of Clinton's Brookings address is that it is the Palestinians, far more than the Israelis, who are denouncing it as a sell-out. They don't seem to have clue that the administration continues to favor their interests over Israel's.