President Obama's recent charm offensive in Israel apparently had two aims: 1) lull Israel into forfeiting timely military action against Iranian nukes in the hope that Obama will stop them, and 2) convince Israelis that now is the time to revisit the land-for-peace formula. For years, the conventional wisdom – among Israel's peace camp and its proponents abroad (Obama included) – has been that if Israel just relinquishes enough territory to its enemies, peace will arrive. But on most of Israel's borders, history has revealed the naïve folly behind an idea that could just as aptly be called "land-for-war."
Consider Syria. From 1948 to 1967, the Syrians regularly fired artillery shells from their dominant positions on the Golan Heights down at Israeli border communities and Fatah used the territory to launch terrorist raids into Israel, until Israel captured it in 1967. But since the US-brokered talks between Israel and Syria began in 1999, peaceniks have posited that a full withdrawal by Israel from the strategic plateau in exchange for peace with Syria involved a risk worth taking. Their rationale was that – in an era dominated more by aerial threats (jets and missiles) than terrestrial ones (soldiers and tanks) – the territory was no longer vital to Israeli security and could be traded for a double boon: peace with Syria and elimination of Iran's greatest strategic ally.
Current events reveal the deeply flawed assumptions underpinning the land-for-peace-with-Syria paradigm. No Israeli territorial concession is needed for Iran to lose its only Arab ally; the Syrian civil war will ultimately accomplish that. Basher Assad's regime will eventually fall because the daily slaughter of one's own people (with over 70,000 dead) is unsustainable when each atrocity can be instantly uploaded to the Internet. Whoever replaces Assad will be no friend to those who armed, funded, and prolonged his massacres: Iran and Russia. Iran and its proxy Hezbollah have also been substantially involved in fighting the rebels on the ground, and thus will be distanced from post-war Syria far more than any Israeli-Syrian peace could have separated Iran and Syria. more >>
Judging from the televised images, President Obama's first state visit to Israel was a love fest. The Israelis literally and figuratively rolled out the red carpet, even giving Mr. Obama a medal to thank him for his friendship to the Jewish people. The President, in turn, literally and figuratively hugged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and repeatedly called him by his nickname, "Bibi," as though they had been best pals for years. The days of frosty, even frigid, relations between the two leaders seemed over.
But John Bolton isn't buying it. The long-serving American diplomat and national security expert, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, says behind the scenes there is still trouble in paradise.
I interviewed him by phone yesterday and his message was crystal clear. On the three critical issues facing the U.S. and Israel in the Middle East – dealing with the Iran nuclear threat, the implosion of Syria, and the peace process – Bolton says the President's objectives have not changed one iota. Netanyahu cannot count on this White House, he argues. And if Israel is going to strike Iran, they're going to have to do it this year, and on their own. more >>
During his trip to Israel, President Barack Obama stated that the Jewish state has "the unshakeable support" of the United States in its efforts to defend its country and make peace with its neighbors.
At remarks given Thursday at the Jerusalem Convention Center, President Obama spoke about the strong ties between the United States and Israel.
"Those ties began only 11 minutes after Israeli independence, when the United States was the first nation to recognize the State of Israel," said Obama. more >>
U.S. President Barack Obama quoted Scripture upon beginning his historical trip to Israel Wednesday, which is meant to serve as a symbolic friendship gesture to the U.S.'s primary ally in the Middle East.
Upon de-boarding Air Force One at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport, President Obama reportedly held a press conference in front of Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak on the nature of his visit.
President Obama arrived in Israel on Wednesday, marking the first time he has visited the Middle Eastern country during his presidency.
The President began a 3-day visit and stressed to wary Israelis that the U.S. is committed to aiding the country provide its own security. He said that the country is also looking for a way for the nations in the region to come to some sort of peaceful agreement.
"I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations, to restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security and to speak directly to the people of Israel and to your neighbors," Obama told reporters at Tel Aviv airport. more >>
As President Obama prepares for his first trip to Israel, I hope when he gets there he sees what I saw.
Several weeks ago I returned from my first trip to Israel. I went with a delegation headed by Governor Mike Huckabee, who visits Israel at least once every year.
What did I see? more >>