Israel’s New Best Friend
Vol: 130 Issue: 31 Tuesday, July 31, 2012
On Monday, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta acknowledged the obvious, saying that sanctions have had no effect on the Iranian drive to get nuclear weapons. That admission puts Panetta out of sync with the administration, which says it believes sanctions are working.
(Of course, this is the same administration that claimed recently that its economic policies were working, too. And if the policy is to overturn the US economy, then they are — but I digress.)
Since the sanctions already in place haven’t worked, one would assume that the next step short of war would be to ratchet up the pressure even more. But apparently, not.
The [latest] bill on Iran sanctions to pass both Houses does not contain proposed language offered by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) in the Senate and Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Robert Dold (R-FL) in the House that would expand energy-sector sanctions on Iran by declaring the country a “zone of proliferation concern,” thus barring any businesses or service providers from dealing with the Iranian petroleum sector in any way. Instead the bill includes a non-binding “sense of Congress” that Iran is a zone of proliferation concern.”
On Friday, while Mitt Romney was getting ready for his weekend trip to Israel, President Obama released some $70 million in US aid earmarked for Israel, but previously held up by the administration. The White House swears that the timing of the aid to Romney’s visit was “totally coincidental”.
Obama said the bill underscores the United States’ “unshakable commitment to Israel”. That was quite an improvement over Wednesday’s refusal by anyone with the administration to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Noted Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post:
“For reasons known only to the Obama crew, it can’t manage to display seriousness about sanctions nor to speak plain truths about the Middle East. No wonder the United States has alienated friends and encouraged foes in the region and become a laughingstock among foreign policy gurus across the ideological spectrum.”
At the same time that the Obama administration was trying to buy the Israeli political goodwill it could not earn by its actions, it was quietly warning the Israelis not to take any actions to stop the transfer of weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.
Officials acknowledged differences between the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities regarding the situation in Syria. They said Jerusalem regarded the Assad regime as losing control over most of the country, including bases that contain WMD. In contrast, Washington assessed that Assad was maintaining his missile and WMD arsenal.
“We believe Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian government control,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. “Given the escalation of violence in Syria and the regime’s increasing attacks on their people, we remain very concerned about these weapons.”
The statement stands in stark contrast to the administration’s position when it intervened — against Congressional consent — in Libya. Then, it argued that without foreign interventtion, Ghadaffi’s forces might massacre Libyan rebels by the hundreds.
But when it comes to Syria’s massacre of more than twenty thousand, mostly civilians, the administration prefers to trust that Assad is both in control of his entire WMD arsenal and trust in Assad that he won’t use them himself.
Which raises the question, if Assad has amassed the largest arsenal of WMD in the entire region, what makes the administration so confident that it won’t use them?
It is worth remembering at this point that the Obama administration is gambling with hundreds of thousands of Israeli lives by demanding that Israel stand down until “something” happens.
Officials said the administration has warned that Israeli military intervention in either Lebanon or Syria would play into Assad’s hands. They said Iran would immediately order a massive counter-attack by its proxy Hezbollah as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, which could then suspend the Sunni revolt in Syria.
That’s one risk. The other risk is that the population of Tel Aviv could be wiped out by a single WMD attack before Israel could respond. And THEN they would STILL have to deal with a massive counter attack by Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
An editorial in today’s Jerusalem Post suggests that Israeli Jews are considerably less gullible than their American cousins.
The editorial, under the title “The Opposite of Obama: A Primer For Democrats” took a close look at Obama’s record of support for Israel since taking office less than four years ago. Which of these, the editorialist asks, would Obama’s defenders consider problematic?
- Obama’s speech, sandbagging Netanyahu on the eve of his Washington visit, calling on Israel to retreat to the 1949 Armistice line as a starting point for negotiations?
- Obama tearing up American commitments to Israel to support retention of major settlement blocs in any peace negotiation?
- Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling Israel “an ungrateful ally”?
- Shoving PM Netanyahu out the White House back door, without so much as feeding him dinner, issuing a joint statement or allowing a photo-op?
- Obama, over an open mike, agreeing with French President Sarkozy’s statement that “I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar”, helpfully adding, “You’re fed up, but I have to deal with him every day”?
- The administration dressing-down Israel in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s publicized 43-minute telephone harangue of PM Netanyahu for announcing construction–specifically exempted from any building freeze–in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem?
- Senior advisor David Axelrod televised proclamation that President Obama considered housing approvals in Jerusalem “an affront, an insult…and very, very destructive”?
- Vice President Biden’s castigating Israel for endangering American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by building homes in Jerusalem?
- New Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s chastising Israel to “get back to the damn [negotiating] table?
- Obama freezing-out Israel, of all countries, from two high-level American-sponsored counter-terrorism conferences?
The editorialist, an American attorney and political commentator living in Israel, summarized the Obama record thusly:
Obama’s defenders cite intelligence coordination with Israel and the cooperative development of the Iron Dome rocket shield as evidence of Obama’s Israel commitment. Those, however, were joint US-Israel defense and intelligence projects initiated by the Bush administration, just part of a decades-long bipartisan partnership with Israel.
As the administration obsesses over Jerusalem housing starts scheduled for 2014, the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Egypt and Tunisia, a re-armed Hezbollah runs Lebanon, and we’ve been caught flat-footed by the Syrian massacres, without a clue as to what comes next or who will control the Syrian chemical and biological weapons stockpiles.
The Prophet Zephaniah seems to suggest that is how it will turn out, regardless of the intention of the EU or the Obama administration. They’ll fight it out. And the squabbling over Jerusalem will end.
Zephaniah 2:1 begins with a warning to Israel;
“Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired.”
There is no nation on the earth today that is a better fit for Israel than, ‘O nation not desired.’ Zephaniah warns the nations of the earth to seek forgiveness for their harsh judgment of Israel.
“Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3)
Zephaniah then turns his attention to Israel’s tormentors:
“For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. . . .And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.” (Zephaniah 2:4-9,13)
Zephaniah’s prophecy includes Gaza, the Phillistine coastal cities north of Gaza, Moab and Ammon (Jordan) and Assyria, which includes Syria and parts of Turkey, Iraq and Iran.
Coupled with Isaiah’s ‘Burden of Damascus” prophecy, the picture that emerges suggests that if it comes to war, Israel won’t wait to see how accurate Syria’s Scuds are or how far Hezbollah’s missiles can travel or how many rockets will roar out of Gaza.
The exact chronology is not clear, but all the players are in place and waiting, precisely as foretold. We don’t know when it starts, but Isaiah is crystal clear about when and how it ends.
“And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.” (Isaiah 17:14)