President Obama needs every vote he can get in the House of Representatives for health care this week. So it would not do to have some of his liberal friends on the Hill think there is a crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations right now. Asked by FOX News’ Bret Baer directly if the recent diplomatic storm was a crisis, the President said no. He spoke of the decision by a mid-level Interior Ministry official in Jerusalem to allow housing units to be built in the Jewish section of the city. “Not helpful,” the President described the routine issuance of a building permit.
Who knew? Never before had even the volatile Palestinians violently protested against more apartments being built for Jews in the Jewish quarter.
So what’s different? They’re testing us. The Palestinians want to see how far they can press the Americans. They want to drive a wedge between the Obama administration and the coalition of Likud and Right-wing parties that makes up the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Palestinians know that Obama wants to “reach out” to Muslims. If they can cause enough trouble in Israel, they know they can raise a hue and cry among their fellow Muslims, just in time for Obama’s big “Entrepreneurship Summit” with Muslims, slated for April 26-28 in Washington.
If they can incite Arab youths to a new “intifada,” the Palestinian Fatah faction, these political heirs of the terrorist Yassir Arafat, think they might topple Netanyahu’s coalition. If they do that, they hope to bring to power in Jerusalem a government willing to hand over still more territory to meet insatiable Palestinian demands.
Israel is but a fraction of the size of the Arab world. There are more than 50 million Arabs whose dictatorial governments have used the plight of the Palestinians since 1948 to help them de-stabilize the Jewish State. Those Arab rulers may fear one another. They surely fear their own people. But if they can succeed in Jew-baiting, they can distract their own peoples’ attention from the endemic corruption and backwardness that afflicts every Arab government, without exception. Discounting the profits from their nationalized oil deposits, the entire Arab world has a GNP less than Denmark’s.