US Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel last week, supposedly to reassure an increasingly skeptical Israeli population and government that the Obama administration is committed to Israel’s security. It’s not hard to understand why so many Israelis are concerned.
Biden’s arrival, however, coincided with the Israeli government’s announcement that it had approved the construction of 1,600 new apartments in a large, orthodox Jewish community in the northeast area of Jerusalem. Biden greeted his hosts by condemning the new Israeli plan – casting a cloud over his presence, which was supposed to kick-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Biden issued a harshly worded statement, saying that the construction approval was especially troubling coming as it did on the eve of the new round of US-mediated peace talks. “We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not to complicate them,” Biden said. He then added, “This settlement construction is precisely the kind of activity that undermines the trust we need right now. I had hoped that the resumption of indirect talks would be a vehicle by which we can [sic] begin to allay that layer of mistrust that has been built over the last several years.”
So that’s his take: Blame the Israelis for the “years of mistrust.” Where has he been for the past 100 years or more, while the Arabs have been consistently deceitful and hateful to the Jews and Israel? Is he so naïve that he doesn’t know who is responsible for the “mistrust”? And where have all the Obama people been for the past 60 years to think that the Palestinians are going to honestly negotiate for peace with Israel, when they have rejected and sabotaged every peace effort for decades? The settlement construction issue is only a handy new excuse.
Relations between Israel and the Obama administration have long been chilly, partly because of the settlement issue. The US believes that settlements on land claimed by the Palestinian Arabs, including east Jerusalem, undermine peace prospects.
However, all Israelis understand that President Obama has gone out of his way to reach out to the Arab and Muslim world. He gave his very first TV interview as president to the Al-Arabiya news channel. He sent private letters to Iran’s dictator, who has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the map. He spoke in Egypt and in Turkey of softening America’s foreign policy. And he bowed to Saudi Arabia’s Muslim king.
Meanwhile, his administration has repeatedly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian terrorists who are running Gaza and the West Bank. Obama even went so far as to tell Israel that Jews should not be allowed to live in certain parts of Jerusalem, and that Israel would be unable to remain a Jewish state unless a Palestinian state is formed alongside it. Clearly, Vice President Biden has the same mindset.
We must add that Biden also urged Israel to “take risks for peace.” That was nothing but another naïve gaffe. Israel has already taken uncounted “risks for peace,” while the Palestinians have done absolutely nothing. To negotiate now with the likes of the Fatah, and Hamas terrorists, would certainly be a huge (and stupid) risk for peace.
Biden actually went so far as to praise Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas, saying, “President Obama believes in Abbas and in the fact that the Israelis finally have a Palestinian leader who shares with them the idea of the establishment of a Palestinian state.” Again, he has obviously not been listening to Abbas over the past few years. The Palestinian leader has been saying over and over again that he will not negotiate with the Israelis, giving one reason, or excuse, after another. It should be obvious by now what his true intentions are. Anyone with any degree of discernment knows there would be peace tomorrow, if only Israel’s Arab enemies would renounce terrorism and recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist. Until then, Biden and Obama have no business pressuring the government and people of Israel to risk anything for the sake of their enemies, who want nothing less than Israel’s total annihilation.