President Obama held a media availability today with the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, and answered questions about the Mavi Marmara incident. His comments were about what you would expect, which is to say, vapid:
I think everybody, people in Israel, people in Turkey, people within the Palestinian territories, certainly people here in the United States, want to know the facts of this tragedy — what led to it, how can we prevent it in the future.
And I think — I’ve said to the Israelis directly and certainly my team has communicated the fact that it is in Israel’s interest to make sure that everybody knows exactly how this happened so that we don’t see these kinds of events occurring again. And we expect that — the standard that was called for in the U.N. Security Council to be met.
Actually, what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara is now well known; what we need is not an international investigation, but rather a leader who is willing to tell the truth about Hamas and its supporters. Obama continued:
The question now is how do we create a different framework so that people in Gaza can thrive and succeed, so that extremists are isolated as opposed to having an excuse for engaging in violent activities, but also how do we do it in a way that Israel’s legitimate security concerns are met.
But of course, extremists don’t need an excuse to commit violence; and in Gaza, terrorists are not isolated, they are popular. More of this in a moment.
With respect to the broader issue of lifting the blockade, as I said before, I think the key here is making sure that Israel’s security needs are met but that the needs of people in Gaza are also met. And it seems to us that there should be ways of focusing narrowly on arms shipments, rather than focusing in a blanket way on stopping everything and then, in a piecemeal way, allowing things into Gaza.
As so often with Obama, you wonder: what the heck is he talking about? Does he imagine that there is some magical means by which Israel can identify the ships that are carrying arms, and only stop those?
Finally, Obama gets to the heart of the matter, as he sees it:
But, let me make this final point: that in the long run, the only real way to solve this problem is to make sure that we’ve got a Palestinian state side-by-side with an Israel that is secure.
And so we’re going to be dealing with these short-term problems, but we also have to keep our eye on the horizon and recognize that it’s that long-term issue that has to be focused on.
So many of this, the immediate problems in front of us, have to do with the fact that we haven’t solved this broader problem. OK?
Obama, like many liberals, believes against all evidence that the reason for Islamic violence against Israel is that the Palestinians don’t have a state. Create a state, and the violence will stop–“the only real way to solve this problem.” But the Palestinians could have had a state long ago, if they had wanted one. That was never their priority.
The liberal view is that the Palestinians’ “resistance” arises from the fact that their territories are occupied. But we know for sure that this is false. Gaza isn’t occupied, and hasn’t been for several years, but the violence has gotten worse, not better–contrary to the prediction of every liberal, both here and in Israel. Now suppose that Gaza were a state, in combination with the West Bank. What reason is there to think that the violence against Israel would decline? Why wouldn’t Hamas and other terrorist groups import arms by land and by sea and use them against Israel, just as they do now? Hamas already rules Gaza; why would it beat its swords into ploughshares if the entity it rules were denominated a “state”?
Violence between Israel and its neighbors has a single root cause: the determination of many, perhaps most, Muslims in the region to exterminate the state of Israel. If that determination were to evaporate, the violence would end immediately. As long as it persists, so will the violence.
The United States can advance the cause of peace in the Middle East in one way, as it has at various times in the past. The best contribution we can make to peace in that region is to make it unmistakably clear that Israel is our ally; that we will side, decisively, with Israel should the need arise; and that the wish that the region might be free of Jews for the first time in millenia is an unattainable pipe dream.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration is sending precisely the opposite message to the region’s corrupt and terror-supporting autocracies. The result, as we are now seeing, is not only heightened terrorist violence, but a serious risk of war.