By: Fern Sidman
In an address aimed at placating his disgruntled Jewish supporters, President Barack Obama told his audience of over 10,000 at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington on Sunday that “a strong and secure Israel is in the interest of the United States and the bond between our two vibrant democracies must be nurtured.”
Taking intense criticism from pro-Israel supporters since he delivered a significant Middle East policy speech on Thursday in which he called for Israel to negotiate a future Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, he also referred to Palestinians living under Israeli “occupation” but sought to heal wounds by enumerating actions taken by the US to foster Israel’s security.
“We have made the most advanced technologies available to Israel including the ‘iron dome’ anti-rocket system. We have imposed the toughest sanctions on the Iranian regime as we remain committed to stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We have told the United Nations that it will meet resistance from the US as we stand in steadfast opposition to their efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel. We responded to the Goldstone report by reasserting our belief that Israel has a right to defend herself,” declared President Obama.
With the glaring absence of any mention of the Palestinian “right of return” or the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Obama said “demographic realities are making it harder to maintain Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state and a just and lasting peace can only be achieved through the establishment of two states for two peoples.
Warning that procrastination on a peace deal with the Palestinians will only serve to “undermine” Israel’s security, President Obama said that any borders for a proposed Palestinian state would be predicated upon “mutual swaps” and recognition that geo-political realities have changed since 1967. “We must acknowledge that a failure to try and make peace is not acceptable,” he intoned.
Referencing the fact that the Palestinians have jettisoned the concept of peace with Israel, the President placed demands on Hamas that it “accept Israel’s right to exist” and called upon the terror group to “release Gilad Shalit.”
Disclosing the essence of his meeting on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama said, “As friends often do, we may disagree. We have an open and honest relationship.”
Also addressing the policy conference was Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House Democratic whip who cautioned of the uncertainities that lie ahead for Middle East peace. He spoke of the legacy of courage that has been the hallmark of the Jewish nation since time immemorial. Citing a biblical passage from the book of Genesis he said, “Just look at the journey of Abraham. He was told to ‘get up, leave your country, your people and G-d said, ‘go where I shall show you.” The Jewish nation he said “would never have happened” if Abraham stayed where things were safe.
Attributing Israel’s doughtiness with their ability to weather all storms, Hoyer said, “The Arab Spring is a time of deep uncertainty and Israel has never known the certainty of other nations. History never plays out as it does in history books and we are unsure of what the future holds. The US-Israel friendship has endured wars, peace, differences, disagreements and Israel will contiune to prevail.”
Focusing on the “shared ideals” of liberty, freedom and democracy of both Israel and America, Hoyer said, it is these, “principles that have given our nations life for over 200 years,’ adding that “regimes accross the Middle East will be more attentive to the needs of their people and despots will be forced to give up power.”
Hoyer echoed the sentiments of other speakers as it pertains to the security of Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat that looms large. “Israel’s security needs must be met by the United States” and a global effort must be made toward “stopping nuclear proliferation.” He reminded the assemblage to be cognizant of the “global implications of a nulear armed Iran” as well and lauded the US financing of the $200 million “iron dome” rocket system in Israel that would serve as a deterrent to an Iranian attack.
While underscoring the need for Israel to retain a qualitative military edge, he also called for the creation of a Palestinian state saying, “there must be two states living in peace and security.” Recognizing “the reality on the ground,” Hoyer said Israel’s borders must be defensible. Chiding Fatah and Hamas for putting “faith in violence,” he urged them to “return to the negotiating table with preconditions.”
Hat Tip: PatriotSpace.com
China has issued an ultimatum to the United States, according to the Times of India. “The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China must be respected.” Historian Webster Tarpley reports that Diplomatic sources close to Bejing say “China has warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.”