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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What price American support?

Jonathan Tobin asks a question I've been asking all week: What will be the cost to Israel of the support of the Obama administration since last Wednesday night?
But right now what may count most will be what President Obama and Secretary Clinton have been saying to the leaders of Egypt and Turkey as they sought to get Hamas’s allies to persuade the Islamist rulers of Gaza to stop firing rockets at Israel. If the U.S. has privately signaled support for concessions to Hamas or even hinted at eventual recognition of the Gaza regime, that could be the opening for another bout of administration pressure on Israel in Obama’s second term. If so, then the president’s kind words about Israel in the past few days will have come at a high price indeed.

Though Egypt and Turkey are attempting to position themselves as sponsors of any new peace on the ground in Gaza, their role in helping to foment the violence is clear. It is doubtful that without the strong diplomatic support they have gotten from the Islamist governments of both countries Hamas would have chosen to pick a fight with Israel at this time. Throughout the fighting, Egypt and Turkey have done their best to demonize Israel. Though Israel is the victim here, those two countries have treated the Israelis as the aggressors and egged on the true aggressor: Hamas. However, if the Obama administration has gotten Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi or the president’s good friend Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to persuade Hamas to stand down, it is reasonable to suppose that they have gotten something in exchange from Washington.

I think we've seen some costs already. While I don't expect to see President Obama meeting with Khaled Meshaal anytime soon, it's clear that he doesn't care if the leaders of US 'allies' do so. But there may also be another cost.
It is equally reasonable to speculate that what they got was a promise that Obama would return to the policy of pressure on Israel that he employed throughout most of his first term until he was forced to terminate it amid his election-year Jewish charm offensive.
I'll bet they did. I also bet that they got some promise relating to a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran, which basically means Iran will go nuclear unless Obama suddenly has guilt feelings (not likely).

Read the whole thing.


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