Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama in Cairo: Welcome Back, Carter?

Obama made a decent enough speech in Cairo, though projecting a false equivalence between Israeli democracy and Arab cowardly autocratic regimes on the West Bank, which he claims has seen Israel holding Arabs "hostage," whereas it was the Arab cowardly autocratic regimes which held the Palestinians in refugee camps after their humiliating defeats in the '47-48 wars.
Threatening Israel with destruction--or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews--is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people--Muslims and Christians--have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations--large and small--that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

Taranto's followup in the WSJ is appropriate:
Obama presents a false choice: between seeing the conflict "only from one side or the other" and treating Palestinian complaints about "the displacement brought by Israel's founding" and Israeli ones about "the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond" as equivalent and offsetting.

In truth, Israel's founding was not sufficient to bring about Palestinian displacement. Also necessary for the latter was the Arab states' violent rejection of the former. And the perpetuation of the Palestinians' plight is far more the fault of the Arab states (joined recently by Iran), not only for refusing to permit Palestinian immigration but also for giving both material and rhetorical support to Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

Probably it would have been diplomatically unwise for Obama in Cairo to put the matter as bluntly as we have done here. But no real resolution of the conflict is possible so long as the Arab states remain major players and are held to no standard of responsibility for their own actions.

The Arabs always prefer the Jacques Shh-Iraq stiletto/vendetta route, the craven stab-in-the-back that cowardly nations perform when they are too weak or lacking in male prowess to do the job on the battlefield. Roula Khalaf of the FT lauds Obama for avoiding the "terror" word. Comically, the Dems won't allow any use of the word "terror attack" on the cowardly murder of US Army Recruiter Long in Little Rock, and Obambi wouldn't want to spoil his debutante's ball in the Middle East with confronting terror in his own homeland.

Yep, James Earl Carter tried it once and failed resoundingly. Getting conned at Camp David. Maybe now that Terrorist Arafat is gone, the Palestinians will be more sensible. Oops, there's Hamas, guess not.

This little boy pretending to be President might make the same mistakes, though unlike Carter, he does have charm and an articulate way of putting things.

Maybe that makes him more dangerous than one-term Jimmy.

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