“Jerusalem, Your King is Coming!” Art by James Nesbit.
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NO SHELTER BUT PRAYER—OBAMA AND THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF MIDEAST POLICY
WHEN THE MISSILE SIRENS BEGAN TO SOUND in Jerusalem this past September, Jolene pleaded with me to turn around and race back home. But we were trapped. With traffic near a standstill, there was literally no way to escape.
By home, Jolene meant the beautiful apartment we were staying in overlooking Mount Zion. One of the key features was a bomb shelter, built into the bottom floor. I found out later that virtually every dwelling in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem has such a shelter. But surrounded by rush hour traffic, we experienced the trauma that Israelis have endured from terrorists since their nation’s birth.
We had no shelter but prayer.
Will Obama Force a Two-State Solution?
As you receive this, international news outlets are reporting Obama is essentially threatening to ram another resolution through the UN—this time to divide Israel and create Palestinian state. A summit is scheduled for January 15 in Paris. Leaders are hoping to draft a UN resolution dividing Israel to be placed before the Security Council on January 16, just four days before Obama leaves office.
Here are a few questions worth exploring. Should Obama be trusted to bring resolution to the Palestinian conflict? Is he really a catalyst for Mideast peace? Should the Israelis trust him? How about the Arab world? And is a two-state solution actually viable?
Most importantly of all, what unanticipated collateral damage could accompany such an imposition? Lets evaluate past decisions in search of answers. Below are seven key points.
1. Syria—The Audacity of Injustice
The first factor we should consider is Obama’s absolute audacity to focus on Israel and the Palestinians in his parting shots while injustice within Syria and other nations is completely ignored. The ancient nation just across Israel’s border remains bloodied and traumatized. Millions are homeless and destitute even as another harsh winter sets in. The Mideast refugee crisis is spilling across the borders, draining the capacities of Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and really the entire western world.
Unfortunately, history proves Obama’s foreign policy helped perpetuate Syria’s bloodshed. Remember the “red line.” And the successful cease fire now in play was orchestrated by Russia, not the United States. In a telling statement, we were completely excluded from negotiations.
2. ISIS Empowered
Remember that Syria is where the “JV team” of ISIS gained a foothold before charging into Iraq, taking city after city and becoming the most powerful terrorist group in the modern world. Americans knew the cities captured because the blood of our own soldiers had just been shed to secure each of them.
The ISIS rampage threatened every country in the Mideast as they claimed them for their supposed caliphate. With crucifixions, beheadings and mass shootings, they slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis and Muslims they considered infidels.
Unbelievably, news reports have shown that Obama received clear intelligence regarding ISIS and their intentions to invade Iraq as far back as the fall of 2012. He also saw clear evidence of the horrific violence accompanying their every move.
But of course, that was during Obama’s final campaign season for his second term. Running on a platform to remove all of our “occupying troops” from Iraq.
Not that President Obama was entirely culpable. The Iraqi government, crippled by corruption, wanted us out as well. But the sad truth is that our military exodus literally opened the gates of hell for the entire Mideast. The bloodshed this mis-step caused has left an entire region traumatized. Families bereft. Ancient cities and historic sites demolished. Nations threatened from without and within.
And the ensuing travesty also granted terrorists easy exodus into every village and city in the western world.
3. Revolution, Benghazi, and Pay to Play
2012. It was around that time that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s revolutionary push into Libya backfired on the world stage. Remember the takedown of Gaddafi. The kingpin, who had actually become a strong ally of the US in the Mideast fight against terror, was executed. An entire nation roiled in instability.
Then came Benghazi.
And lets also remember the private audience granted by the Secretary of State to the Mideast nation of Qatar after substantial donations were given to Clinton’s private foundation. Allegations of “pay to play” still abound, even privately among leaders of her own campaign.
4. The Nuclear Deal and an Empowered Iran
Then there’s the Iranian nuclear deal. Lining the pockets of one of the primary terrorist states in the world, retaining an absolute resolve both to wipe Israel off the map and to regain Shiite dominance in the global contest for Muslim power.
Perhaps President Obama didn’t take into consideration the threat an empowered Iran would become to the Sunni nations of the Mideast? Perhaps he didn’t realize that, before Iran wants Jerusalem, Iran desires to gain Mecca and Medina?
Who knew that Netanyahu’s plea before Congress to negate the deal was not just for Israel, but for the protection of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, etc?
And lets not forget America. Because even through this deal, the highest levels of Iran’s government continued a violent resolve against our own homeland.
5. Obama’s Vendetta
Benjamin Netanyahu’s stand before Congress against the Iranian nuclear deal is largely viewed as motivation for Obama’s grandstanding against Israel now that he’s leaving. It certainly became his motivation to try and unseat Netanyahu in the Jewish leader’s 2014 elections. When Obama’s top campaign manager was hired by Netanyahu’s opponent in a campaign funded in part by American tax dollars.
Apparently, President Obama, the Nobel peace laureate, the leader of the free world, has no reservations imposing a personal vendetta against Netanyahu before the world stage. Largely because the leader of the sovereign nation of Israel stood against policies he viewed as an existential threat.
Lets ponder this for a moment. Desire for retribution is the primary catalyst of the perpetual terrorism, violence and hatred that devastates the Mideast. Not only does it fuel the friction between the Palestinians and Israel, but also the perpetual friction between Sunnis and Shiites and rival factions in Syria and Iraq and tribal violence and honor killings in families and the list goes on and on.
Violence. Torture. Desolation.
I dunno. But shouldn’t the leader of the free world, the pursuer of peace between nations, be the first to break this cycle of retribution? To set an example that proves the genuineness of his cause?
6. Hatred as a Form of Currency
Finally, lets look at the plausibility of a two-state solution now on the table. The Palestinian governments—the Palestinian Authority and Hamas—have steadfastly refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel. Instead both Palestinian governmental agencies still seek possession of the entire land.
And hatred has become a form of currency. Their resolve is fueled by donations from Shiite Iran with Hamas, and from Sunni Muslim states throughout the Mideast and world. Their children are taught to despise the Jews. Terrorism against Israel—Jews and Christians—is celebrated and encouraged.
So much more could be said about this. But lets close our posting by reviewing an actual experiment towards a two-state solution.
7. Two State Solution and the Gaza Experiment
In 2005 Israel ran an experiment to test the viability of a two-state solution. Israel ceded the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians unconditionally to pursue the vaunted ideal of land for peace. Israeli settlers were forced by their own government to vacate their homes. Well-cultivated greenhouses were turned over to the Palestinians for continued vegetable production.
Almost immediately, this ceded territory became a beach-head for terror. Figuratively and literally, the gardens were destroyed.
Gaza remains the most tangible missile threat to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Strategically located on the southwestern coast, it is approximately 60 miles from both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Well within range of recently imported rockets made by Iran and smuggled into port.
Sixty miles. That’s about the distance from Trenton NJ to New York City. Newport Beach to Hollywood. Or Baltimore’s northern suburbs to Washington DC.
And for many Israelis, when literally thousands of rockets rained down and terror tunnels were demolished during the 2012 Gaza war, the collateral damage became evident. The viability of a two-state solution suddenly lost its appeal. Because unless the proximity issue is fixed, Israel would only continue to face an unyielding existential threat.
No Shelter But Prayer
So lets close where we began. Should we really trust President Obama’s plans to force a two-state solution upon Israel? My answer is—NO! Because the unanticipated collateral damage has already brought greater devastation than anyone ever anticipated.
Jolene and I have shouted from the rooftops a dire prophetic warning. The imposition by the US and UN of a two-state solution would likely spark a third world war. Israel would of course refuse the mandate. Provoking the Palestinian governments to radicalize even more, probably with the backing of other nations. Fragile alliances would break. And not only could Israel find herself at war, but the very land could become another battleground for the centuries-old conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
We need a turnaround. And with Obama’s declared intentions, there seems to be literally no shelter but prayer.