WASHINGTON -- On May 14, Israelis celebrated their 61st Independence Day. Less than 96 hours later, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, arrived at the White House in an effort to ensure that the Jewish state will survive to commemorate another anniversary.
In 1948, when Israel was founded by survivors of the Holocaust, they pledged, "Never again!" Then the tiny Jewish state, about the size of New Jersey, had a population of fewer than 850,000 and was surrounded by hostile neighbors intent on its destruction. Today 7.2 million people call Israel their home, and the country has the only functioning democratic government in the neighborhood. As it was in the beginning -- and is now -- powerful opponents in the region remain committed to annihilating what they describe as "the Zionist entity." Unfortunately, the theocracy in Iran is bent on acquiring the means of achieving that goal, a threat the Obama administration appears unwilling or unable to do anything but talk about.
This past week's Obama-Netanyahu "summit" at the White House had but two items on the agenda: the O-Team's quest for an Israeli-Palestinian "two-state solution" for "peace in the Middle East" and the Israelis' plea for U.S. help in stopping Tehran's race to acquire nuclear weapons. After a 90-minute one-on-one meeting, the two leaders sat for an Oval Office "press availability," during which they tried their best to make it appear that the U.S. and Israel are of one mind on these issues. It was a good try, complete with jocular exchanges and smiles, but it just isn't so.
Washington remains wedded to the naive hope that if Israel simply withdrew from all territory it captured during the 1967 Six-Day War, tranquility in the volatile Middle East would be assured. According to the O-Team, "a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security" somehow will motivate the Iranian government to abandon its quest for a nuclear arsenal and oft-stated aim of "wiping Israel off the map."
Prime Minister Netanyahu apparently understood the role he was handed in this piece of political theater -- the warm-up act for next week's White House seances with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. All of this is but preamble to the much-anticipated June 4 address from Cairo, in which Mr. Obama is pledged to describe his "new approach to the Muslim world." Thankfully, for our own good and that of Israel, Netanyahu didn't stick entirely to the White House script.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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