On July 7, anywhere between 70 and 100 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, according to various reports. Not only into the border town of Sederot, but across the country. This attack was preceded by several days of riots in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. On July 8, Israelis will wake up to this message from the President of the United States of America, Israel’s supposed ally:
“[I]n President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel.”
That’s right, President Obama, who famously said that he “has Israel’s back,” making the case that President Abbas is a partner for peace – the very same President Abbas who has partnered with the Hamas terrorists who, as the paper went to press, were bombarding Israel with rocket fire.
Americans are, by now, used to hearing our President say that he has learned of various scandals affecting his administration on the news. At least in those cases, he could attest that someone on his staff had actually read the news. Here, it appears, not even that much has occurred.
How else to explain the callousness behind this op-ed, which appears oblivious to the days of assaults, riots and rockets? True, the disclaimer at the end states that “This article was written for Haaretz’s Israel Conference on Peace before June 30, 2014.” But it does make reference to the abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, an event that occurred after this date. Did no one at the White House think to postpone publication, or at least to continue to keep it up to date? To anyone who has been watching the Obama Presidency unravel, sadly, this should not be a surprise.
This writing appears, moreover, to be a product of severe amnesia. Obama appears to have completely forgotten that just this past March, Abbas reportedly refused Obama’s own requests to commit to an end of conflict and to recognize that Israel is the Jewish State. The President of the United States would do well to read, rather than write, opinion pieces on Israel, in particular this one by AJC Executive Director David Harris:
“Even as every Israeli prime minister — right, left and center — since Shimon Peres has sought to advance peace with the Palestinians after the 1993 Oslo Accords, only to be rebuffed, there’s this urban legend that Israel, not the Palestinians, is responsible for the impasse.
While Israel has offered one plan after another for a two-state agreement based on substantial withdrawal from the West Bank and territorial swaps, removal of settlements, and even division of Jerusalem, the Palestinians, led by President Abbas since 2005, have always found a convenient pretext to say “no,” or to say nothing at all, or to demand still more.
And yet we’re supposed to believe the ball is in Israel’s court, as if the historical record didn’t exist, the “unity” government with Hamas never happened, kidnappings and missile attacks against Israelis weren’t occurring, and the volatile region Israel lives in weren’t going from bad to worse.
It’s high time to end the cognitive dissonance and see things as they really are. No, it’s not a pretty picture. I wish it were different. But to avert one’s eyes from the stark truth simply isn’t a strategy for dealing with the Middle East.