Evidence is mounting that President Barack Obama will unveil a new Middle East peace plan in the coming months. While a desire for peace is indeed admirable, such a move should only be welcomed by the enemies of America.
Not only would this attempt inevitably fail, but it would directly harm U.S. security by shifting our national focus away from very real—and far more dangerous—threats in the region.
Nearly two weeks ago, both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported on the same day about a high-level meeting two weeks beforehand in which National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones had lobbied Obama to craft an American peace plan. Last Monday, J-Street, a left-wing Jewish group with close ties to the White House, ran a full-page ad in the New York Times urging Obama to impose “concrete plans for a two-state solution.”
Obama himself further signaled something is in the works by stating at the close of a press conference last Tuesday that resolving the Middle East conflict was “a vital national security interest of the United States.” Likely at the prodding of White House officials, the New York Times ran a front-page story two days later suggesting that an Obama Peace Plan could be drafted over the next few months and introduced this fall.
But the strongest indicator of an upcoming peace initiative is Obama’s own track record to date.
Health care became the defining issue for Obama’s domestic policy, and the Middle East is the logical global corollary. Far from being content to fiddle around the edges, Obama has an appetite for broad, sweeping change. And the Middle East is quite a tableau.
When he encounters resistance, Obama redoubles his efforts. Witness his resolve after Scott Brown’s stunning victory in Massachusetts. In other words, if Obama has already set his mind to achieving transformational change in the Middle East, the odds he will be dissuaded are quite low.
Should Obama embark on the Quixotic quest of Middle East “peace,” there will be no oxygen left in the national discussion to focus on threats far more insidious to U.S. national security, such as the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, a teetering democracy in Iraq, an ascendant al Qaeda in Yemen, and most significant, the Iranian mullahs’ nuclear ambitions.
The argument in favor of putting all hands on deck for striking an Israeli-Palestinian deal is that it will be the first domino that will rally the Arab states to prevent Iran from obtaining nukes and somehow pacify our enemies elsewhere to realize they had misjudged America.
This is absurd. Arab dictators already want to stop Iran, as they fear the political dominance the mullahs will achieve across the region should they acquire nukes. As for Islamic extremists battling our soldiers, it’s patently naïve to think that a peace deal would convince them to lay down their arms.
U.S. support for Israel is mere pretext for calculated flare-ups of violence in the battlefield or the Arab street, but the underlying reasons for their hatred of America have little, if anything, to do with the Jewish state.
Obama’s Middle East domino theory is also flawed because peace is not possible in the short term. As close as experts now say a deal had been during the Clinton Administration, the only end result from those negotiations was Palestinian terrorism.
Israel gave ground repeatedly over the course of various negotiations in the Clinton era. Palestinians achieved most of their realistic goals—all of Gaza, 95% of the West Bank, and half of Jerusalem—yet Yasser Arafat walked away at Camp David in 2000. Months later, he launched an unprecedented terror campaign he called the “second intifada.”
In the intervening decade, matters have become worse. A “two-state” solution seems impossible, simply because it would have to be three states to account for Hamas’ control over Gaza. Some recent media accounts have reported that Hamas would accept Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas negotiating on its behalf. Perhaps, but a four-day blood-soaked coup in Gaza three years ago suggests otherwise.
Hamas is far from the only stumbling block, however. Palestinian society has become increasingly radicalized, not just by Hamas propaganda, but also because of the handiwork of Abbas’ supposedly moderate Fatah.
Before any long-term deal can be reached in the Middle East, the swamp first must be drained. In short, Palestinians have to cease any and all indoctrination—while simultaneously making a meaningful effort for undo the damage wrought ever since Arafat took the reins.
To understand just how deeply radicalized the Palestinians have become, Obama would be well-advised to comb through the web site of the invaluable Palestinian Media Watch, which has documented hundreds of examples of violent Islamic indoctrination from both Hamas and Fatah.
Simply put, ordinary Palestinians are not ready to accept peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state of Israel. Various polls over the years have shown clear majority support for rocket attacks and suicide bombings, and those who disagree publicly do so on strategic—not moral—grounds.
Is a society where no one speaks out against the depravity of brainwashing its children to become mass murderers ready to embrace peace?
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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