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Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: President Obama Burnishes His Image On The Back Of Israel

The stabbing spree in Israel by Palestinian terrorists continues unabated. Even when an American citizen visiting Israel is killed “What me worry? President Obama” is unfazed. At this point in his presidency Obama has only one goal: burnishing his legacy.

To augment the chapters of a future history I believe he intends to accomplish what none of his predecessors could – a Middle East settlement. And he intends to achieve this lofty goal through imposition. This president will not wander through the tall weeds of negotiation and give and take. Nor is he obliged to adhere to 242, the international law that requires an exchange between Israel and the Palestinian Authority before any settlement. He intends to propose a “two state solution” to the U.N. Security Council, a body already predisposed to accept the idea.

President Obama is not likely to call on his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate before he engages in this initiative. This is his call, yet another example of his imperial presidency. He is also likely to face almost no resistance in the United Nations where many Arab states have recognized the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a legitimate state. The irony, of course, is that the PA is to a state what a meal is to a morsel of food.

Were it not for Israeli largess, international aid and U.S. support the PA could not exist. The West Bank’s so called leader, Abu Abbas, has been serving as president for 12 years after a four year term. Corruption is rampant in every area controlled by Arab leadership. The police function – to maintain a semblance of order – is underwritten by the United States. Hamas and ISIS have penetrated underground cells in Ramallah and other areas. While a tenuous relationship exists between Jews and Arabs in the region, Israeli businesses provide many of the job opportunities for Arabs, even the most disenchanted.

Into this morass enters President Obama, or so I believe. Recognizing the futility of attempting to secure Congressional support, the president is a lone ranger using the agency of the United Nations for his agenda. Since the P5+1 deal over the Iranian nuclear program, it is clear the president has channeled foreign policy through the United Nations. It is also clear he assumes his status as commander and chief gives him, ipso facto, authority for unilateral foreign policy decisions.

Since he has already alienated Israeli President Netanyahu and, considering his lame duck status, cannot experience any further political fall-out from his UN posturing, this action will be widely admired in the Arab world, perhaps even altering a widely shared negative opinion of the president. And who knows, maybe it results in deals and post-presidential speaking fees ala Bill Clinton.

The problem with this worthless effort is that Israel will be left holding the proverbial bag. PA officials, aka Hamas leadership, will claim a “legitimate” right for trade, transport and defense in the newly created state. The Organization of Muslim States, all 57 of them, will agree. As a consequence, Israel will be facing yet another hostile front with the possibility a border will be created within a two mile range of Ben Gurion Airport, the hub of commercial traffic.

In Lewis Carrol’s delightful publication The Wind In The Willows, Tweedledee said, “He’s dreaming now and what do you think he is dreaming about? Alice said, “Nobody can guess that. Why, about you! Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be? Where I am now, of course, said Alice. Not you! Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake, added Tweedledum, you’d go out – bang! – just like a candle.”

Alas, PA Arabs are obsessed with a dream about the elimination of Israel. They are nowhere without the dream, but in reality that dream can be blown away like a candle’s flame. The only thing that keeps it burning is the misguided vision of a president who would like to be judged as the man who did what others couldn’t. Too bad he hasn’t read Lewis Carrol.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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