As the Washington Post pointed out on Friday, US President Barack Obama purposely provoked the current fight with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He knew full well that Netanyahu does not back the Palestinian formulation that negotiations with Israel must be based on the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, or what are wrongly referred to as the 1967 lines. In the days leading up to Obama’s speech last Thursday, Israel registered explicit, repeated requests that he not adopt the Palestinian position that negotiations should be based on those lines.
And so it was a stinging rebuke when Obama declared Thursday: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” According to the Washington Post, Obama wrote these lines of his speech himself and Netanyahu was informed of them just as he was scheduled to fly to the US on Thursday evening. Obama gave the speech while Netanyahu was in the air on his way to Washington to meet Obama the next morning. It is hard to think of a more stunning insult or a greater display of contempt for the leader of a US ally and fellow democracy than Obama’s actions last week. And it is obvious that Netanyahu had no choice but to react forcefully to Obama’s provocation.
The question is why would Obama act as he did? What did he wish to accomplish by purposely starting such an ugly fight with Netanyahu?
Probably the best way to figure out what Obama wished to accomplish is to consider what he did accomplish, because the two are undoubtedly related.
On May 4, two weeks before Obama gave his speech, Fatah and Hamas signed a unity agreement. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like its fellow Brotherhood satellite al-Qaida, Hamas shares the Brotherhood’s ideology of global jihad, the destruction of Western civilization and the establishment of a global caliphate. Also like al-Qaida, it is a terrorist organization which, since its establishment in 1987 has murdered more than a thousand Israelis.
In 2005, Hamas subcontracted itself out to the Iranian regime. Since then, its men have been trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and by Hezbollah. Hamas maintains operational ties with both outfits and receives most of its weapons and significant funding from Iran.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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