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Monday, January 19, 2009

Did the Obama administration force Israel to stop Cast Lead?

There's a deeply disturbing headline that all three Israeli newspapers with English web sites share this morning. The JPost headlines "Officials: Troop pullout to end before Obama inauguration." Haaretz didn't put it in the headline, but notes
Israeli officials have said that troops would withdraw completely before Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday as the new U.S. president. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been publicly announced.

Government spokesman Mark Regev would not confirm the timetable. He said only that if Gaza remains quiet Israel's dparture will be almost immediate.
YNet headlines "Israel plans to complete Gaza pullout before Obama inauguration." YNet even gives a time: 7:00 pm GMT. Even Hamas 'gave' the IDF a week to pull out.

I will grant that I would rather have our soldiers home than being sitting ducks at Gaza, but this accelerated timetable does not give the IDF a lot of time to confirm that the 'cease fire' actually takes hold.

All of which leads to the real question: Did the incoming Obama administration pressure Israel to end the Gaza war so as not to ruin the party coronation taking place in Washington on Tuesday.

From what I hear from the US, the incoming Obama administration placed 'enormous pressure' on Israel to end the operation. Why? Here's one possibility:
Second, increased tensions and polarization in the Middle East undermines Obama's ability to pursue a new policy towards this region, including a shift in America's 30-year old policy of isolating Iran. In fact, polarization along the imagined Gaza fault lines - and a misleading equation of Hamas with Tehran - traps the incoming Obama administration in an involuntary continuation of the Bush policies that contributed to the increased instability in the Middle East in the first place. From the vantage point of Israeli hardliners, this may be a welcomed outcome since it will make compromise with Tehran more difficult and pressure on Israel less likely. Hence, Tehran seems poised not to help reduce Obama's maneuverability.
I don't buy his characterization of President Bush's policies as contributing to 'increased instability' in the Middle East. And given that Tehran has done more than its share to arm Hamas (from where else did they get Chinese-manufactured rockets?) the equation of Hamas with Tehran is not misleading at all. But there is little doubt that it would be difficult for Obama to negotiate with Hamas when Hamas is in the middle of a war with America's number one ally. And we already know that Obama plans to 'negotiate' with Hamas.

It's going to be a very difficult four years.


At 12:27 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Why is it Israel's obligation to make life easier for the new U.S Administration? Shouldn't the responsibility of Israel's leaders be the reverse - the well-being of the country and the safety of its citizens? Unless Israel has abdicated her national sovereignty, the government has no right and no authorization to act contrary to the country's best interests. That Carl - is high treason. I don't expect Israel's traitorous leaders to be hanged from the gallows for betraying their country even though in a just world - they would be.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

Livni ran to Condi to sell out Israel's rights as a sovereign nation to the will of another before The One starts his reign of terror against Israel. The 2 Ehuds are partners to the crime. They all deserve to be charged with treason - or at least for abandoning the wellbeing of the nation to foreign interests. That disgusting non-press conference - The 2 Ehuds Show - which was delayed because they had to twist the arms of the cabinet members, said it all. (What the heck is with that black vinyl jacket that Ehud Barach has been wearing lately? Maybe he wears it to hide the sweat stains.) Cabinet members who voted for the phony ceasefire should be punished as well.

The Opposition should push this in their campaign materials. (I think that Bibi is, at least.) Thank goodness we have an election coming up. They won't say anything to rile The One and his team of pro-islamofascists. Israel needs to re-establish its self-esteem and hold on for dear life.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Probably the Obamessiah did force this.

Obama is no friend to Israel. Israelis need to understand this. Jews need to understand this.

Just like Mr. Clinton before him, Obamessiah did say and do anything to get elected. The end justified the means.

What we do know is that Obamessiah will align himself with evil regimes, and try to undo Bush's policies. The latter, while flawed, were at least non-threatening at an existential level. Obamessiah's policies we already have a taste of from his envoys.

Only 1460 days until a hopefully new president takes office.


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