ZOA To Obama: Stop Linking Help On Iran To Israel’s Submission On Palestinian State
May 8, 2009


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed deep concern that the Obama Administration is linking Israeli submission to the establishment of a Palestinian state which will surely be a terrorist state on Israel’s longest border with American willingness to assist Israel in facing the mounting and existential Iranian nuclear threat. It is threatening Israel with little or no help in facing the mounting Iranian nuclear threat unless it accedes to establishing a dangerous Palestinian state. President Obama is ignoring the threat posed by Iran to America and other Western states, not simply Israel.


The evidence for this pressure is readily apparent in recent statements by top Obama Administration figures:


1. Vice-President Joseph Biden strongly suggested U.S. opposition to any Israeli military action against Iran to prevent it obtaining a nuclear weapons’ capacity.”


2. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared to lawmakers on Capitol Hill that Israel cannot expect strong American support in countering the Iranian nuclear threat unless it moves forward and makes concessions to the Palestinians.


3. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told pro-Israel activists that, against the background of the growing Iranian threat, the Obama Administration means to push hard for the creation of a Palestinian state.



Statements by senior Obama Administration figures:


·        Vice-President Biden: [Asked whether he was concerned that the Israeli government might strike Iranian nuclear facilities] “I don’t believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill advised to do that” (Paul Richter, ‘Biden warns Israel off any attack on Iran,’ Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2009).


Secretary Clinton:  “For Israel to get the kind of strong support it’s looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can’t stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand …[every Arab official she has met] wants very much to support the strongest possible policy toward Iran [but] they believe that Israel’s willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran” (Glenn Kessler, ‘Clinton counters Israeli stance on Palestinians and Iran,’ Washington Post, April 24, 2009).


·        Rahm Emanuel: ‘“Relations between Israel and the U.S. are unbreakable,” Emanuel said before a gathering of 350 AIPAC donors, adding that “this is the moment of truth for Israel and the Palestinians.” He also declared that “Iran is the number-one threat to the Middle East,” and noted that it is hard to make progress wherever Tehran is involved in the Middle East. Emanuel called for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation if Iran is to be countered effectively.(Barak Ravid and Natasha Mosgovaya, ‘Obama gets tougher with Israel on Palestinians, Iran,’ Haaretz, May 5, 2009).


Some commentary on Obama’s Iran-Palestinian linkage


·        Former Israeli official and frequent commentator on Arab-Israeli affairs, Yoram Ettinger: “Iran’s megalomania and its drive to obtain nuclear capabilities, are a derivative of its 1,400 year old goal to dominate the Persian Gulf and the Muslim World. The pursuit of such a goal is shaped by domestic and Gulf realities, Iran’s rivalry against Iraq and Saudi Arabia, US military involvement in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean and the Putin Cloud hovering above the region. Iran’s nuclear ethos has not been driven by the Palestinian issue or the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is independent of Israel’s policy and existence … The linkage concept advances Iran’s fortunes. It makes the anti-Iran campaign a hostage in the hands of Palestinian terrorists, diverts some of the criticism away from Iran, provides Teheran with additional time to develop nuclear capabilities and enhances Iran’s domestic and regional legitimacy” (‘Self Destruct: Iran-Palestinian linkage, Yediot Ahronot, May 8, 2009).


·        David Horovitz, Editor in Chief, Jerusalem Post: “Israeli is entirely convinced that the Iranians will not prove amenable to diplomacy, and broadly certain that Iran will not be shifted from its nuclear course by anybody or anything short of radical action …For now, America is talking diplomatic engagement with no firm time limit, leverage via vital Iranian energy imports, and that pointlessness, or worse, of military action … In a bitter Jerusalem, the point is acerbically made that [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates’ publicized reluctance for military action has taken all the pressure off Teheran. And if Teheran is not afraid of military action, runs the Israeli thinking, it will be all the more robust in resisting sanctions” (‘Editor’s notes: The rupture,’ Jerusalem Post, May 7, 2009).



ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “One only needs to peruse these statements from Obama Administration officials to see that the Obama Administration is increasing pressure on Israel to agree to its policy of establishing a Palestinian state, linking it to U.S. support. Specifically, it is making it clear that, if Israel is to have any kind of (unspecified) support in ending Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons. Also, Vice-President Biden, Secretary Clinton and Senate Foreign Relations Committee head Senator John Kerry (D-MA) are all giving speeches repeatedly promoting establishing a Palestinian state. When one adds to this the context of the U.S. government opposing Israel taking independent military action if Iran fails to disarm and the past withholding of bunker-busting bombs and other military materiel that would be used in such military operations, the high degree of pressure being exerted is even more obvious.


“This is not the behavior of an ally committed to Israel’s security. It is for Israel itself to decide which steps can be taken to create peace and whether that prospect even at present exists. It is not for the United States to impose a policy on Israel that affects its vital interests and very existence, least of all with implied threats that Israel will be abandoned in its quest for security against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons if it does not do as Washington wants.


“The notion that setting up a Palestinian state will thereby end the conflict is a delusion based on the mistaken idea that Palestinians accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and merely seek their own state living peacefully alongside Israel. Moreover, polls of both Americans and Israelis show strong opposition to creating a Palestinian state.


“ZOA has repeatedly pointed out, as recently as yesterday, that the Palestinian Authority leadership have repeatedly and explicitly rejected accepting Israel as a Jewish state, that both Fatah and Hamas do not accept Israel’s existence and are committed to both terrorism and Israel’s destruction in their respective charters; and that Palestinian society rejects Israel and approves of terrorism waged against it.


“The entire pro-Israel community needs to send a strong message to the Obama Administration that it finds these implied threats unacceptable and incompatible with the behavior expected of an ally. It must speak clearly and repudiate in detail the notion that Arab states somehow need Israel sacrificed before they can act in their own interest in concert with the U.S. to prevent Iran obtaining weapons of mass destruction.


“The only connection between the Palestinian war on Israel and Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is that both Palestinians and the Iranian regime seek to eliminate Israel. The United States’ commitment to Israel’s security (as well as its own) is meaningless if it will relinquish efforts to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons or pressure Israel into establishing a Palestinian state under current conditions.”

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