In response to the murder of 4 Israelis by Arab terrorists, President Obama said:
"the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks ..."
The aim of the terrorists, however, was not to stop peace talks, since such an assumption is absurd, and the attack occurred close to the same place where an Israeli policeman was shot in his car several months ago when there were no "peace talks."
Israelis are frequently attacked on roads throughout Israel by rocks and fire bombs, sometimes by snipers; these attacks are not connected to any political or diplomatic process. Framing this attack as politically motivated distorts the nature and meaning of Arab terrorism against Jews.
President Obama went on to say: "the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course."
One might have expected him to say: "those who commit such murders, and those who support them, will be brought to justice and punished to the fullest extent of the law."
Or, "These murders are the result of incitement and we will prevent all funding of incitement."
Or, "We demand that the PA forces, especially those trained and supplied forces by the United States, will apprehend, arrest, and punish anyone who engages in terrorism."
Or, "Unless the PA acts to eliminate terrorism and incitement there can be no progress in political, diplomatic or military cooperation. Actions speak louder than words."
But he did not, and he won't, because no matter what Arab terrorists do, the PA knows they have the support of America, Europe and the international community. They can get away with murder, and do.
President Obama's misunderstanding of, and therefore his failure to act against Arab terrorism is due to the mindset that views terrorism as a response to specific causes -- and political or ideological motives. In Israel's case, it's "the occupation," which has become a brand-name legitimization for killing Jews and demonizing Israel.
The danger of linking terrorism to grievances is that it rationalizes murder and justifies those who perpetrate it. But those who carry out such acts are not driven by a sense of injustice, or rescuing humanity; they are homicidal criminals who seek to inflict the most damage to the largest number of people, regardless of who they are, or their beliefs.
Arab terrorists, who plan and train meticulously, don't seek political compromises; their goal is Jihad, total elimination of Jews, and the State of Israel. They don't think about a "peace process;" they are committed to annihilation of their enemies. They see themselves as "martyrs," and are glorified by their communities, and by the PA.
And they see their cause as just. This provides the psychological determination to perpetrate murder as an act of religious and political sanctification. And they are not alone, since most of the international community, and President Obama now, justify not their means, but the end - a second Arab Palestinian state, for starters; an Islamic world for "the believers."
This is what President Obama did not understand about the controversial Islamic Center near the site of "9/11." It's not about a mosque, but about what comes along with it. It's not about a building, or religious freedom; it's about full disclosure and transparency.
It's not what Obama said, but what he could have and should have said - and done - as an American president. The American flag in his lapel is not just an ornament.
The author is a writer and journalist living in Israel