“Enemy: “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.” — Dictionary.com
Despite Vice President Joe Biden’s recent pledge of unswerving fidelity to Israel during his recent visit there, the rhetoric and pressure directed by the Obama administration against the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East more accurately resembles the behavior of an enemy. Increasingly under this administration — but also present in Republican administrations — America’s policy toward Israel is full of “harmful designs” and “antagonistic activities.” The intentions may not be deliberate, but the outcome would lead to the same injurious end.
The latest pretext for putting more pressure on Israel to do more in the “pursuit of peace” comes from a decision by Israel’s Interior Ministry to construct 1,600 new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which is located in “disputed territory.” To the Palestinians and their Arab and Muslim neighbors, most especially Iran and Syria, all of Israel is “disputed territory.” It is difficult to understand why the U.S. State Department thinks not building a few houses is going to dissuade Israel’s enemies from wanting less than they want now.
The failure of this formula has been evident for decades, but U.S. policy continues to employ it, always with the same results. Whether Israel’s concessions have been unilateral — most recently with its abandonment of the Gaza Strip, which predictably led to terrorist attacks from that territory — or negotiated deals which the Palestinians have never lived up to, Israel always ends up getting its pocket picked. Then, the United States, the U.N., Europe and Russia demand that it put more valuables in its pocket so the thieves can continue their thievery.
A Washington Post headline illustrates the deteriorating relationship between the two nations, “U.S. Pushes Netanyahu to Accept 3 Demands.” There is no similar demand that the Palestinians and especially Hamas, which has said it will agree to nothing less than the eradication of Israel, should accept anything, not even the minimal acceptance of Israel’s right to exist. Meanwhile, Hamas has called on Palestinians to launch a third “intifada.”
After apologizing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the “offense” of the housing announcement during Biden’s visit, Netanyahu reminded the Israeli parliament that Israel has been building in east Jerusalem for four decades. He said, “The building of those Jewish neighborhoods in no way hurt the Arabs of East Jerusalem and did not come at their expense.”
That doesn’t matter when the wrong formula is employed. In this twisted thinking, whatever Israel does is unjustified so long as the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim side is unhappy. What part of annihilation does the State Department not understand? What State is blind to is that the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” as it is erroneously labeled, is part of a worldwide religious war against all things Jewish, Christian, secular, modern and Western.
Making demands of only one side before serious negotiations begin, especially on matters of Jerusalem, so-called “refugees” and borders, effectively pressures Israel into making concessions on all three, which would severely damage its prospects for continued existence.
How about first making these demands of the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim side: (1) A pledge of no more war with Israel, or terrorism; 2) a declaration by a powerful Islamic cleric that their God no longer requires them to kill people who don’t believe as they do; and 3) no more teaching in Palestinian textbooks and in their media that Jews created AIDS and descend from monkeys and pigs?
After those three demands are met, the State Department can start making demands of Israel. Not before. Anything less puts America on the wrong side, along with Israel’s (and America’s) enemies. Or hasn’t State noticed that we share the same enemies?
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist and author.