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June 26, 2007
Obama's statement on Israeli-Palestinian summit
Senator Obama has issued a statement that reveals some of his assumptions and beliefs on Middle Eastern affairs. Well, at least he did not call upon them to have the "audacity of hope". Here is what he said, followed by a few reminders of reality.
"Today's summit in Sharm el-Sheikh is encouraging. I support the efforts of Prime Minister Olmert, President Mubarak, and King Abdullah to strengthen President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad - two Palestinian leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to non-violence and achieving peace with Israel. These leaders seek peace and deserve the support of the international community.
"I applaud Prime Minister Olmert's announcements that Israel will release Palestinian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill. We hope that this goodwill, along with the unfrozen tax revenues being sent from Israel to the Palestinian Authority, will help strengthen a Palestinian partner for peace with Israel.
"I commend these regional leaders for their initiative. But it is critical that the United States demonstrate leadership if this effort is to succeed. A senior U.S. presence at this summit could have been helpful.
"The absence of U.S. leadership in the past has helped open the door to extremism in the West Bank and Gaza. Direct U.S. presidential leadership is needed now to ensure the Europeans maintain their isolation of Hamas; to press Egypt to do everything possible to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza; and, to get other Arab states to provide political support to President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad and humanitarian aid to Gazans that does not flow through Hamas institutions.
"We need to help these moderate leaders demonstrate that they can deliver for their people. Israel and the Palestinian Authority can work together to improve the security of their people, and we can help by ensuring a resumption of aid, improved security cooperation, a renewed negotiating process, and help reforming Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.
"This moment is an opportunity to let Palestinians know that we will work toward the goal of achieving a viable, democratic Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza living side by side with Israel and peace and security, but that this goal can only be achieved through acceptance of Israel and a commitment to non-violence.
Abbas in his own words and actions:
- On recognizing Israel: " It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel" (Al-Arabiya [Dubai] and PA TV, October 3, 2006).
Fighting Israel: "We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation ... Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation" ( Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007; Independent Media & Review Analysis, January 12, 2007).
- On Jews: "The sons of Israel are corrupting humanity on earth" ( World Net Daily , January 11, 2007).
- On Israel: "the Zionist enemy" (Associated Press, January 4, 2005; CNN.com , January 7, 2005).
- On suicide bombers: "Allah loves the martyr" ( Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2005).
- On wanted Palestinian terrorists: "heroes fighting for freedom" .
Mahmoud Abbas' acts:
- Holocaust denial: He wrote a PhD thesis and published a book denying the Holocaust.
- Terrorist group Fatah: He co-founded with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat the terrorist group Fatah, whose Constitution to this day calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism against Israelis as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19).
- Funding terrorism: as senior PLO official, he funded the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972.
- Terror & incitement to violence: He has refused to implement the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan which requires him to fight, arrest, extradite and jail terrorists and confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it.
- Terrorists' plan for more violence: In May 2006, he endorsed the so-called 'Prisoners' Plan', a document produced by jailed Palestinian terrorists, that endorses continued terrorism against Israel, legitimizes the murder of Jews, does not accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state, abrogates Palestinian obligations under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, and insists on the 'right of return.
- Money for suicide bombers' families : In December 2005, he approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of killed Palestinian terrorists.
- Mecca Agreement: In March 2007, he formed a unity government with Hamas under the Mecca Agreement that called for more violence, not peace and reconciliation with Israel.
On "the absence of leadership" in Middle East peace efforts, Bush did all of the following:
(1) became the first American president to officially support a Palestinian state
(2) gave a major policy address outlining a new process to achieve it, notwithstanding the collapse of the Oslo process,
(3) convinced the U.N., E.U. and Russia to formally endorse the process, in the form of a Road Map with specific phases and timelines,
(4) got both Israel and the Palestinians to formally commit themselves to the three-phase plan,
(5) negotiated a disengagement deal under which Israel (whose Phase I obligation was only to dismantle certain post-2000 "outposts") dismantled every settlement in Gaza and totally withdrew its forces from the area, to give the Palestinians the chance to demonstrate their ability to live "side by side in peace and security,"TM
(6) insisted as part of the deal that Israel also withdraw from settlements in the West Bank to demonstrate that the disengagement process would not end with Gaza,
(7) assisted the Palestinians in holding their first truly contested election, giving them the opportunity to vote among competing parties and freely choose their leaders, and
(8) greatly increased American humanitarian aid to the Palestinians both before and after those elections
Imagine my surprise.