- - Thursday, January 21, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama is determined to leave American relations with Israel, the nation’s only reliable ally in the Middle East, in ruins as part of his legacy. He doesn’t seem to understand that a president doesn’t design his legacy. Reality takes care of that, and the legacy he will leave is well established already.

Like presidents before him, he appointed a liberal of the Jewish persuasion to represent the United States in an increasingly conservative Israel. The result was predictable. In the midst of a campaign by largely young Palestinian fanatics to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers, Ambassador Daniel Shapiro accused the Israelis of a double standard in treating violence. The facts speak otherwise.

Mr. Shapiro’s judgment was rendered only hours after a pregnant Jewish woman from a settlement in the Judean Hills was stabbed and seriously injured by a Palestinian teenager in a grocery store. The evening before, an Israeli mother of six, was stabbed to death in her home in front of her 17-year-old daughter.

Over the past four months, 28 men and women have been killed by stabbings, car rammings and shootings. These include 25 Israelis, an Eritrean, an American and a Palestinian. The Palestinians put the number of Palestinians killed in that time by Israeli security forces at 149, with more than 15,000 injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers. Several European governments, some Israeli and American activists accused the Israelis of “overreaction.” It’s difficult to understand how someone resisting being murdered could be judicious in his defense.

There’s no evidence of central direction from the Palestinian leadership, such as it is, for these attacks, but they are clearly the result of a vicious campaign of hatred and pleas to spill Jewish blood. Among those encouraging violence is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA). UNWRA schools are notorious for fanaticism in the Palestinian cause. During fighting in Gaza the schools were often used as fortresses by Hamas terrorists. In onc incident a 16-year-old Arab boy was enlisted for an attack on Israeli soldiers.

Secretary of State John Kerry continues to talk about Israeli-Palestinian cooperation to create two independent states living in peace. The behavior of the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mocks such an appeal. The Palestinians typically profess a desire to make peace in English while inciting violence in Arabic. Hundreds of millions of dollars of U.N., European, and American aid has disappeared in custody of corrupt Palestinian leadership. If Mr. Abbas were to permit long-postponed elections, terrorist candidates would likely win cooked elections on the West Bank, as they did in Gaza.

The Obama administration, in its schizophrenic strategy, has undermined the political process. Despite repeated professions of allegiance to the alliance, top Obama officials are regarded on the ground as inimitable to Israeli interests. Iran is suspected of assisting Palestinian armed forces on all of Israel’s borders.

President Obama’s romance with the mullahs in Tehran, exposed in his deal meant to block Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons, has established a tacit alliance between Israel and Egypt. The perception of a common threat from Iran’s mullahs has even opened highly publicized conversations between the Israelis and their bitter enemies, the Saudis, and the Gulf states. In effect, there’s a new alliance excluding the Americans.

The Obama administration has made Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, the ancestral home of the Hebrew kingdoms of antiquity, its test for progress. The greatest part of this population of some 300,000 lies in bedroom communities of Jerusalem. Mr. Obama ignores the obvious, the question of how 1.5 million Arabs can be accommodated as Israeli citizens when Israelis are not permitted to live in the occupied areas. Many of the settlements represent security strongpoints in space much smaller than generally understood by foreigners.

Ambassador Shapiro’s harangue suggests that President Obama may attempt to leave one more enormous muddle for the next president.

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