It is a pivotal week for the Obama administration with regards to the Middle East as three major events will occur that will impact our policy and the outlook for peace.
Yesterday and today, King Abdullah of Jordan will be meeting with the president and foreign policy officials. Then on Thursday, the president will give another of his "Arab outreach" speeches touting the Arab Spring and how the pursuit of democracy is better for Muslims than Osama bin Laden's example.
Finally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will arrive in Washington on Friday. He will address the AIPAC conference on Monday and follow that up with a speech before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
In a column published today at FrontPage.com, I show how the administration is not taking advantage of some clear opportunities this week:
[T]he attraction of young Muslim men to extremism does not appear to be abating, raising the question as to why the president doesn't address the need for reform within Islam. Or the danger that extremists might co-opt the Arab protest movement. What good is outreach if only half truths are presented, while the hard facts of the Islamic world are ignored?
By contrast, Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his speech before a Joint Session of Congress next Tuesday, will almost certainly offer a more realistic assessment of the state of affairs in the Middle East. The PM gave a preview of his remarks at the opening of the summer session of the Knesset on Monday. There, he outlined several well known conditions for peace with the Palestinians, including defensible borders, no right of return, and Jerusalem as the undivided capitol of the Jewish state.
"We must stop blaming ourselves," Netanyahu stated, referring to the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist and how some left-wing Israelis see this as their own fault. But Netanyahu will likely not offer any bold new peace initiatives - especially now that Hamas has joined with Fatah. And while it was initially thought that President Obama would put the Israeli prime minister on the spot by trying to force more concessions on him during his Arab outreach speech, later reports indicate that there will be no new efforts by the president to restart talks anytime soon.
Several golden opportunities are being missed by the administration this week. He might have told the Arab world what they needed to hear and not what they want to hear. He might have thrown his support one hundred percent behind the Israelis as they deal with the new reality of a united terrorist entity on their borders.
Instead, there is no vision, no acknowledgment of the peril inherent in extremists gaining influence because of the "Arab spring," and a failure to stand by our ally Israel as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the terrorist regime in Iran threaten war to achieve their goal of wiping the Jewish state off the face of the earth.