Monday, June 6, 2011

The Real Obstacles to Peace in the Middle East

The outrageous behavior of the Iranian-backed, Assad dictatorship in Syria continues to get worse. The Syrian government has been shooting its citizens for weeks and the response of the US has been weak and muted.

Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard describes the new lows to which this cynical regime has sunk in the manipulation of its own citizens in order to deflect world attention from itself:

For the last several months, Syrians have been loudly protesting their own government. The regime, led by strongman Bashar al-Assad, has responded by killing its own citizens, including women and children, and shutting off channels of communication that the protesters have been utilizing (such as the Internet). According to the Boston Globe, "the continuing crackdown that has killed more than 1,000 people, with hundreds more rounded up in mass arrests."

But in an apparent effort to turn the world's attention away from its own problems, the Syrian regime is reportedly now paying its citizens to protest the Israelis. Ynet reports:

The Syrian opposition group claimed that each farmer was promised $1,000 for showing up at the rally and $10,000 to their families if they are killed by IDF fire.

According to the report, the average salary of a Syrian citizen is about $200 per month, meaning that participation in Sunday's demonstration could provide a protester and his family with five months worth of financial relief.

So once again, Syrian protesters rushed Israel's border, resulting in the deaths of at least a dozen.
Will Washington protest?

In a related development, we hear that the Palestinian Authority, Israel's supposed partner for peace, is now paying a salary to terrorists in Israeli jails.

Last month as Mr. Obama was pandering to the Muslim world by suggesting that Israel return to their 1967 borders, the Palestinian Authority enacted a new law which will pay a monthly salary to Palestinians and Arab-Israelis serving prison sentences in Israel for terrorism.

Among those eligible for salaries are Abdullah Barghouti, serving 67 life sentences for acts that include planning the Sbarro restaurant (2001) and Monument café (2002) suicide bombings in Jerusalem; Hasan Salameh, serving 38 life sentences for offences that include planning a series of 1996 bus bombings; and Jamal Abu al-Hijja, serving nine life sentences for planning 2005 bombings in Hadera and Netanya

The law will provide a salary to help with the needs of the prisoners, benefits for released prisoners and payments to assist the prisoners' families.
When Obama made the comments in his recent speech in which he called on Israel to recognize (before negotiations had even started) that final agreement would be based on the 1967 borders with land swaps, he sparked outrage in Israel and among all supporters of Israel worldwide, including within his own Democratic Party.

Some ask why the fuss? After all, don't most people think a final agreement will take this form? That is not the point. The point is that he was asking Israel to make concessions ahead of time, without negotiations and without receiving anything in return. The real question is why did Obama not implicitly blame the Palestinians for holding up negotiations (since they are the ones refusing to negotiate after all) by calling on them to renounce the right of the descendents of the Arabs who fled in 1948 to return to Israel and swamp the Jewish state with their numbers?

Why always make it sound like Israel has to be the one to make the concessions, as if Israel was the obstacle to peace? Israel is not the obstacle to peace. The Palestinians are. And the cynical actions of dictators in the Arab world who manipulate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for their own political benefit are obstacles to peace. Why is Obama so quiet about Syria? He has made himself into an obstacle to peace in the Middle East too.


mike said...

Craig - I agree with you. But, there's an assumption that a lot of folks are making that clearly must be questioned. Does Obama truly want peace? Is peace in the Middle East his primary desire/concern?

Teleos informs praxis. Conversely, by looking at one's actions we can make some safe assumptions about what they believe.

It seems to me that President Obama and his administration prefer a limited, reduced and emasculated Israel over true peace.

Craig Carter said...

Sure, Obama wants peace. As Augustine said, even evil men who start wars want peace on their terms. To them, the conquest of their enemies is a good and they call that peace.

But Obama, like most leftists, probably wants a single Palestinian state with a Palestinian majority created by the right of return plus the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state. Like most Utopian leftists, he probably thinks everything would be fine in such circumstances and there would be peace, but if the Jews make trouble they deserve what they get.

Obama cannot be honest about his true beliefs because to do so would be to blow his cover and destroy his effectiveness in infiltrating the institutions of the West so as to undermine our culture.

Who knows, maybe by now Obama has lost some of his left-wing prejudices and become more realistic about the world. There really is no way to know. All anyone can do is react to his actions and not be distracted by his words.