ZOA: Obama Foreshadows Further Distancing From & Criticism Of Israel, Never Criticizes Palestinians
June 24, 2011


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has highlighted remarks made recently at fund-raiser dinner with Jewish Democratic supporters by President Barack Obama, in which he stated that new “tactical” disagreements loomed between the United States and Israel in the next 12 to 24 months. Conversely, President Obama has not criticized Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA), not even explicitly criticizing him for signing a unity government agreement with the recognized terrorist group, Hamas, which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the world-wide murder of Jews. (Obama has merely said that the PA must ‘explain’ this agreement).


At the fund-raiser with American Jewish Democratic supporters, Obama reportedly said that, while the U.S./Israel relationship “isn’t breakable,” “What is also going to be true is that both the United States and Israel are going to have to look at this new [regional] landscape with fresh eyes … It’s not going to be sufficient for us just to keep on doing the same things we’ve been doing and expect somehow that things are going to work themselves out …. There are going to be moments over the course of the next six months or the next 12 months or the next 24 months in which there may be tactical disagreements in terms of how we approach these difficult problems” (Abbas Momani, ‘Obama warns of new US tactical spats with Israel,’ Yahoo News, June 20, 2011).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “President Obama has made it clear that the tensions that have bedevilled the U.S.-Israeli relationship in the past two and half years are going to become even greater during the next one to two years.


“These are the words of a President who has altered long-standing U.S. policy, based on UN Security Council Resolution 242, by calling upon Israel to accept the 1949 armistice lines with ‘mutually agreed swaps,’ which would make the proposed borders between Israel and future Palestinian state virtually indistinguishable from the 1949 lines. He is the first president to call for a Palestinian state with ‘permanent Palestinian borders with … Jordan,’ which would require Israel ceding the Jordan Valley, whose retention every Israel governments has regarded as vital to Israeli defense. He is the first president to have ever suggested that issues of ‘territory and security’ should be agreed upon first, before proceeding to negotiations on all other matters, including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, meaning Israel should make more one-sided concessions before these matters are even discussed. This would completely eliminate Israel’s leverage in future negotiations. Last year, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, in words that were leaked to the press, said that, under Obama, the U.S.-Israeli relationship has been subject to a ‘tectonic shift.’


“Since coming to office, President Obama has been critical and harsh in his dealing with Israel, fawning on Arab dictators while holding frosty exchanges with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; demanding Israel freeze construction for Jews – and only Jews – in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem; condemning Israel for merely announcing the start to a legal housing project in Jerusalem; and responding to major Israeli concessions, such as in-principle acceptance of a Palestinian state and implementing an unprecedented 10 month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, by saying that Israel has not made ‘bold gestures’ and that it refuses to make the necessary concessions for peace.


“Conversely, although saying that he will hold the PA accountable, he has never explicitly pressured or criticized the Fatah/PA for refusing to negotiate, refusing to make concessions of its own and refusing to implement its pre-existing signed Oslo commitments to end terrorism, arrest terrorists and end the incitement to hatred and murder that pervades the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. He has never explicitly identified the PA as responsible for incitement and therefore never penalized it for it. On the contrary, specific cases of PA incitement – like the naming of Ramallah square in honor of Jew-murderer Dalal Mughrabi and the 2009 Fatah Conference in Bethlehem, where terrorists were honoured by name – were specifically denied by the Obama Administration. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even pretended that the Ramallah ceremony in honor of Mughrabi was organized by Hamas, not the PA.


If he was genuine about holding the PA accountable, President Obama would be demanding the disbanding of Fatah’s own Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a U.S. recognized terrorist group. He would demand the abrogation of the PA’s unity agreement with Hamas as a precondition of any future talks. He has done neither. Moreover, not only has President Obama not pressured or penalized the PA for incitement, he has munificently increased U.S. aid to the PA, up to almost $1 billion per year.


“It is astonishing that President Obama would actually foreshadow to a group of American Jewish donors or potential donors that he is going to place even greater strain on the U.S.-Israeli relationship and put greater distance between Washington and Jerusalem than he has done already in past two and half years. American Jews cannot say now that they have not been warned.”


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