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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Obama Lays Ambush for Netanyahu in Washington

In an August 31, 2010 New York Times op-ed entitled "A Peace Plan Within Our Grasp", Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt, called for the positioning of an international force in the West Bank to provide Israel with its requisite security needs:

"I recognize that Israel has legitimate security needs, needs that can be reconciled with the Palestinians’ just demand for a complete withdrawal from occupied territory. Egypt believes that the presence of an international force in the West Bank, to be stationed for a period to be agreed upon by the parties, could give both sides the confidence and security they seek."

These seemingly moderate words, carefully drafted for Mubarak, are minatory and fraught with danger for Israel, as amply evidenced by the recent incident on the Israeli-Lebanese border, when the removal of a tree on the Israeli side of the border, coordinated in advance with UNIFIL, resulted in the assassination of an Israeli lieutenant colonel by the Lebanese army.

The proposal is also naive, as demonstrated by the brutal murder of four Israeli civilians, including a pregnant woman, on Tuesday evening, and the subsequent shooting attack on Wednesday, resulting in the wounding of two Israeli civilians, one critically; Hamas has taken "credit" for both of these incidents. Would a force such as UNIFIL be able to frustrate such attacks or ultimately apprehend the perpetrators? As a matter of well-reasoned principle, Israel cannot allow anyone else to assume responsibility for its security.

From where did Mubarak's fatuous solution, published by The New York Times, arise? What is being orchestrated here? You would have to be daft to believe that Obama brought together all of these notables for an amorphous discussion lacking an endgame result.

Consider how The New York Times has become the semi-official organ of the Obama administration, ready to publish the president's op-eds, and prepared to buttress the president when his foreign policy has come under fire, for example, by the Washington Post (see:

Consider also how U.S. National Security Adviser General James Jones, known for his hostility to Israel, has long advocated an international presence in the West Bank:

"General James Jones, whom U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is widely expected to tap as his national security adviser, supports the deployment of an international force in the West Bank instead of the Israel Defense Forces. He also opposes Israel's demand to retain extensive security control over the territories even after a Palestinian state is established."

An ambush was indeed awaiting Netanyahu in Washington, whose blow would have been softened by the award of military hardware and promises involving future regional contingencies. But all has now come to naught, given that Netanyahu, following the West Bank murders, cannot possibly bring home any such proposal to the Israeli electorate.

"The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry . . ."

Better hope Obama is ready with a less ambitious plan "B", because when plan "A" unravels, the resultant disappointment on the Palestinian street will discredit Abbas's Fatah and strengthen Hamas, which, with Iranian approval (, has done its utmost to undermine these talks in word and horrifying deed.

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