The Obama administration has been frantically trying to forestall a diplomatic train wreck at the United Nations next week.
If, as it appears now, the Palestinian Authority pushes forward with its demand for a vote on statehood, the Obama-Clinton Mideast policy will be a shambles.
While the nation is awash with good feelings about our current Secretary of State, the truth is she is our chief diplomatic officer. If the administration Mideast policy goes down next week she bears a considerable responsibility.
In brief terms, the Obama-Clinton team knows that it will have to veto a Security Council resolution proclaiming a Palestinian state, but that if it does so it will alienate many countries in the region as well as those who have plight their diplomatic troth to international institutions like the UN.
So, the administration and the Europeans have been pressuring Israel to make significant concessions to the Palestinians, the better to persuade them to withdraw their threat.
In the Wall Street Journal this morning, Gov. Rick Perry offered a cogent analysis of how we got to this point.
In his words: ”Errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take backward steps away from peace. It was a mistake to call for an Israeli construction freeze, including in Jerusalem, as an unprecedented precondition for talks. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership had been negotiating with Israel for years, notwithstanding settlement activity. When the Obama administration demanded a settlement freeze, it led to a freeze in Palestinian negotiations. It was a mistake to agree to the Palestinians' demand for indirect negotiations conducted through the U.S., and it was an even greater mistake for President Obama to distance himself from Israel and seek engagement with the hostile regimes in Syria and Iran.
“Palestinian leaders have perceived this as a weakening of relations between Israel and the U.S, and they are trying to exploit it. In taking this destabilizing action in the U.N., the Palestinians are signaling that they have no interest in a two-state solution. The Palestinian leadership's insistence on the so-called ‘right of return’ of descendants of Palestinian refugees to Israel's sovereign territory, thereby making Jews an ethnic minority in their own state, is a disturbing sign that the ultimate Palestinian ‘solution’ remains the destruction of the Jewish state.”
Perry does not propose that we pressure Israel to make concessions. He suggests that if he were in charge he would tell the Palestinians that American foreign aid will cease if they insist on a vote. If our aid is predicated, he writes, on the willingness of the Palestinians to work toward a negotiated settlement with Israel, and if their attempt to be recognized as a state by the United Nations represents an abandonment of that commitment, then American should stop sending them aid.
In his words: “We must not condone and legitimize through our assistance a regime whose actions are in direct opposition to a peace agreement and to our vital interests. The Palestinian people should understand that their leaders are now putting this much-needed support in jeopardy and act in their own best interests—which are also the interests of peace.”
To further our understanding of what is going on we turn, as often happens, to the estimable Caroline Glick.
In her view the Western obsession with the Palestinian cause is a diplomatic neurosis. In point of fact it makes no rational sense whatever.
If we were true to our own principles and ideals and if we were true to our own national interest, we would not be trying to placate the Palestinians.
Glick writes: “The Palestinians have certainly never given either the Americans or the Europeans a good reason to support their cause. Just this week, the PLO representative in Washington told reporters that the future state of Palestine will ban Jews and homosexuals.
“And yet, the Obama administration and the EU have made the establishment of a racist, homophobic Palestinian state the greatest aim of their policies in the Middle East.
“Every single Palestinian leader from the supposedly moderate Fatah party has rejected Israel's right to exist and said that they will never set aside their demand that Israel accept millions of foreign-born Arabs - the so-called Palestinian 'refugees' - as citizens. They say this with the full knowledge that this demand is nothing less than a demand for Israel's destruction.”
A Palestinian state would exclude Jews and homosexuals. It would be predicated on the eventual goal of destroying Israel. Yet, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy team is pressuring Israel to compromise with it. Add the New York Times editorial page and Jimmy Carter to the mix and you find people who are strongly opposed to racism and homophobia recommending that we placate, and even recognize, a state that would be founded on racist and homophobic principles.
It is hardly an exaggeration to call this thinking a form of mental illness.
Glick explains: “The fact that the US and the EU are reluctant to oppose the Palestinian UN initiative, despite the fact that it destroys the foundations of the peace process, tells us two things about the Americans and the Europeans. First, their support for the Palestinians has more in common with a psychological obsession than with a rational policy decision.
“The Obama administration, the EU bureaucracy and most EU member states are obsessed with the Palestinians. There is nothing the Palestinians can say or do to convince them that the Palestinian case is anything other than wholly and completely just.
“There are many possible explanations for how they arrived at this obsession. But the fact is that it is an obsession. Like all obsessions, their faith in the justice of the Palestinian cause is impermeable to contrary facts or rational interests.”
To take the full measure of this madness, Glick turned to a New York Times editorial on Thursday.
She analyzes it: “Despite the Palestinians' refusal to negotiate with Israel, despite Fatah's unity-government deal with Hamas, and despite their rejection of Israel's right to exist, the Times argued that Israel is to blame for the current crisis in relations.
“In the paper's view, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ‘has been the most intractable’ party to the conflict. Netanyahu's crime? He has permitted Jews in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to exercise their property rights and build on land they own.
And also: “That is, like the administration and the EU, the Times' support for the ‘just Palestinian cause’ is so comprehensive that its editors never even question whether it is reasonable for them to be completely committed to the establishment of a racist state. It is this inability to consider the significance of their actions that removes Western support for the Palestinians from the realm of policy and into the sphere of neurosis.”
As I am writing this post, the Palestinian Authority has just declared that it will proceed with its demand for full recognition as a sovereign state. It is doing so because it feels confident that Barack Obama is on its side.