In his desire to fast-track the peace-process negotiations between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, President Obama has failed to acknowledge two dirty little secrets.
First, the state of Israel has no credible negotiating partner, largely because the terror entity Hamas controls Gaza and the so-called “moderate” PA runs the West Bank. For the most part, Bibi will be negotiating with himself, rather than with a bargaining power that has the solid support of the Palestinian population and can deliver an agreement with legs. While the radical Islamic organization Hamas continues to pursue its eliminatory anti-Semitism — the destruction of the Jewish state — the Obama administration will insist on a kind of phony bargaining process. The infatuation with this form of engagement recalls Obama’s woefully flawed engagement policy toward Iran’s clerical rulers.
Second, the Obama administration plans to ignore the 800-pound gorilla — the Islamic Republic of Iran. While the Obama administration is fixated on what will probably turn out to be an empty round of negotiations, Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons continues on an accelerated track. A nuclear-armed Iran will only bolster the reactionary Islamic Hamas and its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon. And Iranian nuclear missiles will further destabilize a region already filled with enormous instability.
To bring about peace with longevity between the Palestinians and Israel, the Obama administration has to confront Iran, which means promoting democracy in Iran and terminating its nuclear-weapons program. The U.S. could begin to enforce the new Iran sanctions legislation and punish those Russian, Chinese, Indian, and Swiss energy companies propping up Ahmadinejad’s regime. If the sanctions prove impotent, Obama will then have to turn to serious saber-rattling and lay out a blueprint for military intervention.
The preconditions of peace between Israel and the Palestinians do not center on stopping the construction of Israeli settlements and apartment complexes, but on the end of Islamic fascism in Gaza and Iran.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.