Obama in Israel: Preserving an Untenable Status Quo
President Obama is in Israel right now, but I doubt his visit will make any difference.
I doubt it because he’s been barely able to utter the word “Palestinian” over the last few years.
Everything is about Israel’s security and Israel’s rights, as if the Palestinians don’t even exist.
When he landed in Israel, Obama told the rightist leader Benjamin Netanyahu that “The United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend."
But that’s only half true.
Yes, the United States is, without question, Israel’s strongest ally, providing it with more than $3 billion a year in military aid alone.
But that doesn’t necessarily make us Israel’s greatest friend.
For if we were Israel’s greatest friend, we’d have to exercise a little tough love.
We’d insist that the Israeli government would have to cease and desist with its plans for expanding settlements on the West Bank.
In fact, we’d insist that Israel dismantle existing settlements and leave the West Bank to the Palestinians and return, essentially, to the pre-1967 borders, in exchange for a full and decent peace settlement.
Instead, Washington coddles Israel, and takes its side every time whenever there is a dispute.
Netanyahu plays Obama, knowing that Israel can call on its supporters in Congress to derail any positive proposal that Obama might even dream of.
But I don’t see much evidence of the dream anymore.
Just the status quo, which won’t last forever.
And preserving it is not the same as being Israel’s greatest friend.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Rumsfeld’s Distorting Mirror on Iraq."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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