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Monday, July 28, 2014

David Brooks, "No War Is an Island": Obama, Read This Op-ed!

Yesterday, the US State Department's Jen Psaki ("It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other") and an "anonymous" senior aide to Obama were busy berating the Israeli government for scorning John Kerry's efforts to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas pursuant to the terms of Hamas (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/david-grossman-israel-without-illusions.html). As reported by The Washington Free Beacon (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/obama-admin-u-s-israel-relationship-in-jeopardy-over-criticism-of-kerry/):

"According to the AP’s Matt Lee and Julie Pace, administration officials used 'unusually harsh language' to declare that 'criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy' and had 'crossed a line.'"

However, the threatening language directed at Israel mysteriously disappeared from the article written by Lee and Pace (see: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-fuming-over-israeli-criticism-kerry), and suddenly both Obama and Kerry were talking about the need for a demilitarized Gaza, a key Israeli demand which was absent from Kerry's cease-fire proposal.

What happened? Why did the White House back off?

As might be expected, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer yesterday went further than the Israeli cabinet in denouncing Kerry (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/krauthammer-chaos-around-the-world-result-of-obamas-disengagement-and-withdrawal/):

"Kerry goes over and negotiates in Paris, who with? Qatar and Turkey. And returns essentially as the lawyer for Hamas, hands Israel a proposition that is so outrageous that the cabinet votes 19-0 against it. Israeli cabinets have never voted 19-0 on whether the sun rises in the east. It was unbelievable. It would have given Hamas all of its demands."

But the real bombshell for the Obama administration was the Washington Post opinion piece entitled "John Kerry’s big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-john-kerrys-big-blunder-in-seeking-an-israel-gaza-cease-fire/2014/07/28/ab3fbfd2-1686-11e4-9349-84d4a85be981_story.html?hpid=z2#) by David Ignatius, a friend of the White House, who yesterday observed:

"Kerry’s error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, the intractable, unpopular Islamist group that leads Gaza, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey. In the process, he has undercut not simply the Israelis but also the Egyptians and the Fatah movement that runs the Palestinian Authority, all of which want to see an end to Hamas rule in Gaza."

Suddenly, the West Wing woke up to the havoc wrecked by Kerry and feverishly entered into damage-control mode.

Which brings us to David Brooks's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "No War Is an Island" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/opinion/david-brooks-when-middle-east-conflicts-become-one.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0), subtitled "When Middle East Conflicts Become One." Brooks, who is read by Obama, writes today:

"After the Arab Spring, the Islamists briefly gained the upper hand [in Egypt]. But when the Muslim Brotherhood government fell, the military leaders cracked down. They sentenced hundreds of the Brotherhood’s leadership class to death. They also closed roughly 95 percent of the tunnels that connected Egypt to Gaza, where the Brotherhood’s offshoot, Hamas, had gained power.

As intended, the Egyptian move was economically devastating to Hamas. Hamas derived 40 percent of its tax revenue from tariffs on goods that flowed through those tunnels. One economist estimated the economic losses at $460 million a year, nearly a fifth of the Gazan G.D.P.

Hamas needed to end that blockade, but it couldn’t strike Egypt, so it struck Israel. If Hamas could emerge as the heroic fighter in a death match against the Jewish state, if Arab TV screens were filled with dead Palestinian civilians, then public outrage would force Egypt to lift the blockade. Civilian casualties were part of the point."

Or stated otherwise, Hamas is bankrupt, isolated and fighting for its survival on the world stage. Hamas has nothing to lose in this war, and will not agree to a cease-fire without first having something tangible to show to the Arab street for its efforts.

Brooks fails to mention that Hamas lost the support of Iran, after Hamas backed the rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad in Syria and moved its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar. It is no accident that Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, has refused to fire a single missile at Israel during the past three weeks. (The scattering of rockets fired at northern Israel from Lebanon during the past three weeks has been attributed to militant Palestinian factions.)

Essentially, Kerry spent the past week in Cairo, Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Paris in an effort to throw a lifeline to Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. Kerry is only now beginning to comprehend the damage caused by his acceptance of the cease-fire terms demanded by Hamas, as pressed upon him by Qatar and Turkey. Notwithstanding Obama administration declarations to the contrary, these were not the cease-fire terms of Egypt, and the terms did not take into account Israeli calls for a demilitarized Gaza.

Egypt, by the way, has become overtly contemptuous of Obama. As part of a widely publicized effort to demean the American secretary of state, Kerry last week was screened with a metal detector device before meeting with Egyptian President Sisi. Kerry, however, seems to have been blissfully unaware of this Middle Eastern insult.

Is Kerry hostile to Israel? I don't think so. The man is simply out of his depth.

2 comments:

  1. Kerry?
    I think that Kerry was just religious. He just wrote down every word the GOD-HAMAS dictated and presented to Israel and the world as God's words.
    So this is obvious.
    Now the real question: "How did we end up with this quality politicians - presidents and their servants?" Just yesterday, Hilary said something so stupid that I am pretty sure now that she will be our next President.

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  2. Good news, Jeff. Here are the financial results just out from the NY Times:8:34 am New York Times misses by $0.02, reports revs in-line (NYT) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.07 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.09; revenues fell 0.6% year/year to $388.7 mln vs the $390.52 mln consensus.

    Outlook: In the third quarter of 2014, total circulation revenues are expected to be flat compared with the third quarter of 2013. Total advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2014 are expected to decrease in the mid-single digits compared with the third quarter of 2013. Operating costs and adjusted operating costs are each expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the third quarter of 2013. In addition, the Company expects the following on a pre-tax basis in 2014: Results from joint ventures: loss of $1 to $3 million, Depreciation and amortization: $75 to $80 million, Interest expense, net: $53 to $57 million, and Capital expenditures: $40 to $50 million.

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