Obama Surrenders To The Israel Lobby
By ŞAHİN ALPAY
November 25, 2012 - "Zaman" -- I wrote last week that the recent Israeli aggression against Gaza is a test for US President Barack Obama as to whether he will keep his word from 2009 and work towards a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now that he has been re-elected. A cease-fire was reached once more, after scores of Palestinians were killed and Gaza was once more ravaged, but there is no indication whatsoever of any intention of the Obama administration towards putting its weight behind a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
What Obama did was say that Israel has the right to defend itself, send Hillary Clinton to the region after Israel had well advanced its bombing and killing, and not even bother to warn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against a ground invasion of Gaza. He contented himself with working towards a cease-fire after Israel had done its work, through President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt who, unfortunately, needs to get along well with the US because of the financial aid he needs to keep the economy going.
Mr. Obama, hadn't you declared in 2009 that a two-state solution is in the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, America and the world? Can't you see that there is a cease-fire once more, but the real fire, that is the rage against Israel, continues to rise? Doesn't friendship with the people of Israel require you to warn the rulers of that country to come to their senses? How can you be blind to the fact that the security of Israel cannot be assured by the continuous killing of Palestinians?
All the world has seen that the Israeli government's real aim with this aggression was to alarm and mobilize the people of Israel in its favor in the coming election in January, as it has done before all previous elections. It started its aggression by first killing Ahmed Jabari, the military commander of Hamas who was secretly negotiating with Israeli intelligence for a permanent cease-fire, to support its long-standing excuse that Israel has no partners for peace. And then it continued to kill more than 150 Palestinians, mostly civilians and children. In return, the “highly effective” mortar shells fired by Hamas, used as a pretext for the latest Israeli aggression, killed at most six Israelis.
Mr. Obama says Israel has the right to defend itself. Isn't it the Palestinians, above all, who have the right to defend themselves? Is it Israel or the Palestinians who live under occupation, blockade and oppression, who have been kicked out of their homeland, who lead miserable lives in refugee camps, whose land continues to be stolen every passing day?
If your true aim, Mr. Obama, is to maintain the security of Israel, why don't you put your weight behind a two-state solution, but instead issue blank checks for Netanyahu to continue with massacres? Don't you have the slightest sense of justice and fairness? Aren't you ashamed? You talk to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis. Why do you insist on refusing to talk to Hamas, the elected representative of the people of Gaza? Have you entirely surrendered to the Israel lobby? You must return the Nobel Peace Prize.
Some people both inside and outside Turkey criticize Ankara for having lost the leverage over Israel to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and Hamas. I ask them, when you have no government prepared to make peace with the Palestinians, what good is it talking to Israel who refuses even to apologize for the nine Turkish civilians killed on the Mavi Marmara? What needs to be done is not to run to facilitate cease-fires but to help find a permanent solution to the conflict. And the best way Turkey can contribute is as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did, cry out loud to the world that Israel's security cannot be assured without the plight of the Palestinians first coming to an end.
Even the British magazine the Economist, not exactly a friend of Hamas, is crying out: “During his first term, he [Obama] neglected to present his own plan for peace. Back in the White House, he is looking just as reluctant to be drawn in. This is woefully short-sighted. America has a vital interest in a stable Middle East. That means a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.” (The Economist, Nov. 24, 201