"I want you to know that I speak to you as a friend who is deeply concerned and committed to your future, and I ask you to consider three points.
"First, peace is necessary. Indeed, it is the only path to true security..." (Emphasis added)
Let's stop right here for a moment. Necessary? It would be nice, if it were possible. But it's not. "The only path to true security"? Sure, if it were true peace. But what Obama envisions -- a "peace agreement" -- simply puts us at risk.
And what a crock, that he is concerned for our future. He's concerned for his political success and a host of other things.
"Second, peace is just." (Emphasis added)
What glib nonsense this is -- designed to appeal to the sense of justice of an idealistic student population. The real issue is one of whether the peace agreement would be "just" in its particulars. For many of us, justice means Jews keeping the land that has been ours going back 3,000 years, and which international law ceded to us early in the 20th century -- in recognition of that ancient bond with our homeland.
For Obama it's something else entirely:
"...the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized. Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home." (Emphasis added)
This paragraph is so distorted in its representation of the reality that it is sickening. Every child has a right to "her own state"? What about a Kurdish child, for example? And it is not true that the Palestinian child's parents are controlled in their movements every single day -- not if they live in a PA city and go about their business peacefully.
And settler violence unpunished? I'd need him to clarify this, which he states as fact. What about the horrendously increased level of Palestinian violence, which he mentions not at all. And on and on...
"...while I know you have had differences with the Palestinian Authority, I believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. Over the last few years, they have built institutions and maintained security on the West Bank in ways that few would have imagined a decade ago. So many Palestinians – including young people – have rejected violence as a means of achieving their aspirations." (Emphasis added)
Sigh... a true partner in President Abbas... Uh huh. As to maintaining security, I alluded to this myth yesterday. The IDF is maintaining security. If there are two states -- Heaven forbid -- the terrorists will flock in droves to the new Palestinian Arab state.
"Which leads to my third point: peace is possible. I know it doesn’t seem that way. There will always be a reason to avoid risk, and there’s a cost for failure. There will always be extremists who provide an excuse to not act." (Emphasis added)
True peace with the Palestinian Arabs is NOT possible. But he would have it that anyone who recognizes this is an "extremist."
"...There will be many voices that say this change is not possible. But remember this: Israel is the most powerful country in this region. Israel has the unshakeable support of the most powerful country in the world. Israel has the wisdom to see the world as it is, but also the courage to see the world as it should be."
Go for it, he's telling the young students. Don't listen to the "extremists" and those who say it isn't possible. Here I am, the president of the United States, speaking directly to you and saying it is possible:
"Today, as we face the twilight of Israel’s founding generation, you – the young people of Israel – must now claim the future. It falls to you to write the next chapter in the story of this great nation."
Manipulative is not even a strong enough word for how Obama conducted himself here. Take a lesson. Under no circumstances is this a man to be trusted.
Now let's back up just briefly, to the visit Obama made to Ramallah this morning.
According to multiple reports, the tone was decidedly different from what it had been in Israel. No joyous flag waving. There was a large demonstration of hundreds just a short distance from the Muqata (PA headquarters in Ramallah) that could be heard when Obama arrived. The crowd -- organized by an Islamist group called Hizb ut Tahrir -- called for him to leave.
Yesterday, Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in the JPost, reports, a group of Palestinian lawyers filed a request with the PA prosecutor-general that Obama be arrested. That this was about US Army involvement in the death of a Palestinian journalist ten years ago (when Obama wasn't even on the scene) indicates a good measure of hostility to the US in segments of Palestinian Arab society.
Obama and putative PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, met for 90 minutes and then held a press conference. Both parties were largely unsmiling, although Israel National News reports Obama was noticeably warmer to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (long a favorite of the West).
What is clear is that during the press conference, Obama was attempting to play down the issue of "settlements," which, ironically, is the one he himself had advanced as a precondition to negotiations early in his first term. Apparently he has learned at least this from his mistakes -- for he fomented a hardening of Abbas' position.
He had told Netanyahu that "settlement" expansion was not "constructive" or "appropriate." Now at the press conference he suggested that focus in negotiations should be on "core issues": establishment of a Palestinian state and guarantees of Israeli security.
"That's not to say settlements aren't important. That's to say if we solve those two problems, the settlement issue will be resolved," he said. "If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there's no point in negotiations. It's essential to work through this process even if we have concerns on both sides. We can push through these things, not use them as excuses not to do anything.
"..."Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable, that real borders will have to be drawn.
[While] "Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state, and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security."
But Obama couldn't close the Pandora's box he had opened last year.
Everybody considers settlements more than a hurdle toward a two-state solution. The [United Nations] security council issued more than 13 resolutions, not only condemning settlements but demanding ending and removing them because they're illegal. We're demanding nothing other than the implementation of international law. The issue of settlements in clear."
Well, for the record, it's not "clear" at all. The Levy Report, which examined a host of legal and historical parameters, determined that the "settlements" are not illegal.
Also for the record: Before Obama raised the "settlement" issue, a great deal of negotiating took place while building was going on. Nothing in the Oslo Accords prohibits settlements.
But if Obama wants to push "peace" forward -- which means bringing Abbas to the table -- where will he go from here? According to PressTV, Abbas political advisor Nimr Hammad quoted Abbas as having told Obama during their meeting:
"A resumption of negotiations is not possible without an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank and east al-Quds [Jerusalem],"
Has Obama already made a demand of Netanyahu that in the interests of "peace" he freeze building past the Green Line? Will Kerry be expected to deliver that message next week?
What we will need to watch for is a de facto building slowdown that is not officially announced.
Obama spoke at the press conference today about "real borders" having to be drawn. This addresses another hot button issue about which little is being said publicly: Abbas demands Israel's pullback to the '67 line, and Obama has gone along with this. What was discussed between Obama and Netanyahu on this issue?