Sunday, July 27, 2008



Guest Comments:This is only for those concerned with the long term existence of the Jewish State of Israel. Knowledge and facts can be power, if one uses it wisely.
This is intended to be an examination of what has occurred for the purposes of clarity. We have a lot at stake.

If words are a window onto the soul, then Barack Obama’s comments before a recent gathering of more than 7,000 delegates at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2008 Policy Conference reveals much about his true attitude towards Israel and the not-so-secret agenda of his foreign policy advisors. Here was an opportunity for the great orator to set the record straight and to disabuse his critics of the widely held notion that his sympathies lie not with Israel’s enemies, but with the safety of the besieged Jewish State. "Let me be clear," Obama declared to his pro-Israel audience, "Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper - but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders."

For most of those in attendance, the statement by the Illinois Senator was nothing short of a ringing endorsement of Israel and its security requirements, an unambiguous declaration that if elected, the new President would not pressure Israel into making life-threatening concessions in the name of peace. So convinced was the AIPAC audience of his sincerity that he received rapturous applause from a crowd long accustomed to lofty pro-Israel declarations by aspiring candidates.

But what was Obama hinting at?
A careful parsing of the passage suggests that either he was calling for all Palestinian towns on the West Bank to be linked territorially, something that already exists, or more likely that in any final peace deal Hamas-controlled Gaza must be connected to the West Bank via a land bridge.

In fact, the Obama statement was a sinister reformulation of a key Palestinian demand that if implemented, would erode not only the geographic continuity of the Jewish State, but could fatally undermine its security as well.

By asserting that "The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive," Obama implicitly called for the partitioning of Israel, the break-up of a U.N. member state and U.S. democratic ally, and the sacrifice of its territorial integrity in the face of unrelenting terrorism. This is surely not what the AIPAC audience understood and certainly not what the American People expect of a possible future President.

Nonetheless, the erosion of Israeli security is the logical consequence of any proposal that would press for a contiguous Palestinian state between 'Hamastan' and the Palestinian territories on the West Bank. Hamas, after all, is committed to the destruction of Israel and has demonstrated this fact by firing over 4,000 rockets into Israeli towns and cities since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. The U.S. Government has branded Hamas a terrorist organization and has noted its links not only with terrorist groups in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, but also its close association with Al-Qa'ida.

Surely those advising Obama on foreign policy matters are aware that what their candidate is asking of Israel is nothing short of national suicide. Individuals like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lee H. Hamilton, Susan E. Rice, Lawrence J. Korb, Joseph Cirincione, W. Anthony Lake and David Bonior boast long resumes opposing Israel security interests and challenging the extent of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Today, neither Egypt nor Israel is able to stem the flow of guns, rockets and explosives from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza. How then will it be possible to stop this weaponry from migrating over a land bridge and into the West Bank? Setting aside the fact that Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah are today implacable foes, such a corridor would only facilitate terrorist infiltration of the West Bank and bring Hamas terrorists closer to Israeli population centers. A corridor would complete the encirclement of the Jewish State by hostile Arab forces, something that no sane Israeli government could willingly accept.

Obama’s call for Palestinian territorial continuity contradicts all mainstream notions of Israeli defensible borders and security, effectively nullifying his pledge to safeguard the well-being of the Jewish State. It also invalidates his declaration that "We must isolate Hamas unless and until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements," something they have pledged never to do.

Troubling, as well, is the use of the word "need" in the Obama declaration: "The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive…" It demonstrates not only a conspicuous break with longstanding American policy, but also a striking ignorance of the historic realities that brought the Palestinians to this point in history. The U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 gave the Arabs a contiguous and cohesive portion of Palestine upon which to build their state. That portion is called Jordan and constitutes 77 percent of historic Palestine. But the Arabs rejected that generous offer preferring, instead, to attack the nascent Israeli state in the hope of stealing the entire loaf.

Senator Obama should understand that the Palestinians do not "need" more land. They may desire a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank, but a "desire" is not a "need." Such a corridor is no more a requirement of self-sufficiency than was a land corridor running through India and connecting Muslim Pakistan and Muslim Bangladesh following the partition of India in 1947. If the island state of Malta is able to prosper with a land area of 122 square miles then the Gaza Strip, at 146 square miles, should be able to do the same. In fact, there are 17 countries that are less than 200 square miles in size. All are economically and politically viable.

History has taught us that appeasement and intimidation should never be the basis for American policy. What the Palestinians deserve is a leadership that cares more about the welfare of its own people than in its unremitting obsession with the destruction of Israel.

If adopted by a future Obama administration, the candidate’s proposal would nullify any pretense that the U.S. backed safe and secure borders for Israel
. Without geographic and economic continuity, the main population centers of Israel would be divided, the security services would be further strained, Israeli military mobilization would be severely impaired, military training bases would be isolated, traffic from the port of Eilat would be slowed, and the cost of exploiting the Negev’s mineral wealth probably would rise significantly.

Shorn of platitudes, the Obama speech to AIPAC was a sober warning to all who support the Democratic candidate for president. The subtext was clear: under an Obama administration Israel's security is not "sacrosanct." Everything is "negotiable." And the Jewish State will be "pressured" to concede its very territorial continuity to satisfy an Obama vision of peace in the region.

After all, it took only twenty-four hours following his AIPAC speech for Obama to repudiate his own declaration that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." After senior Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders condemned the statement, he retreated, telling CNN’s Candy Crowley in an interview that "obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be a part of these negotiations."

Could this new approach to Israel signal the emergence of an "Obama Doctrine," one that calls for the weakening of democratic states that do not capitulate to the relentless assaults of terrorist insurgencies? Hopefully, it is not. America can ill afford to abandon a stalwart democratic ally in the Middle East any more than Israel can afford the price of many more concessions.

Other countries facing local insurrections are watching to see if the formula Obama has sketched for Israel will be their fate as well. The clock is ticking. It is time that Israel and the American voting public carefully reexamine Obama’s words. Thankfully, he has helped us to break the code before it is too late.

Obama told his AIPAC audience: "…(W)e know that we cannot relent, we cannot yield, and as President I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security." Sadly, Senator, by your words and your associations, you already have.

RAND H. FISHBEIN, PH.D., President of Fishbein Associates, Inc., a public policy consulting firm based in Potomac, Maryland, is a former Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, and Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI).

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