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Mona Charen
Mona Charen
10 Feb 2016
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Obama in Cairo: Diplomacy of Wishful Thinking


In Cairo, President Obama told (was it for the 100th time?) the story of his African father and American mother. This story has worked well for him in the American context, and he seems to believe that it will beguile the rest of the world as well. We shall see whether this experiment with autobiography as foreign policy has purchase.

But while some of his appeal to Muslims for common ground was certainly benign, there were aspects of the speech that may create more problems than they solve.

Obama has signaled to the Arab world that his administration is willing to pressure Israel about settlements in the West Bank. Asked before his Middle East trip about relations with Israel, President Obama told National Public Radio, "Part of being a good friend is being honest. And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative..." (Whenever someone starts a sentence by advising that "good friends tell each other the truth," duck.) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spelled out the president's policy bluntly: "He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not 'natural growth' exceptions."

President Obama presumably wants Israel to uproot the 300,000 Jewish settlers who live in the West Bank to make way for a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. This is the "solution" to the Palestinian question that has been endorsed, formally and informally, by the last three presidents and most of the foreign ministries in the world. It has even been endorsed by many Israelis, including former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who offered 95 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza to Yasser Arafat.

The idea of handing over the West Bank to the Palestinians lost favor in Israel after Gaza was evacuated (at considerable pain) in 2005 because the area became a launching pad for missiles aimed at the Israeli heartland. But President Obama has a solution to that. It's nothing much — just the wholesale reversal of Palestinian political culture.

"Palestinians must abandon violence," the President instructed.

"Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. ... Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people."

Is that all? If Mahmoud Abbas were like Martin Luther King Jr. and the Palestinians were like African-Americans at Selma and Birmingham, things would be very different. In fact, if the Palestinians were not wedded to terrorism and violence; did not celebrate as heroes and martyrs those who blow themselves up in shopping malls and restaurants; were not beset with corruption, steeped in anti-Semitism, and drunk on maximal claims, there would be no conflict . Israel would have long since given up huge portions of the West Bank, as it gave all of Sinai back to the Egyptians.

And then there is the small matter of Hamas. One of Hamas' leaders proclaimed as recently as January that his organization "will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity." Hamas' charter is explicit that "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement." The charter also looks forward to the day when "The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." Hamas controls Gaza, and, were it not for the presence of the Israel Defense Forces, would control the West Bank as well.

President Obama, who seems to live in a realm where wishing makes it so, waved his magic wand in Hamas' direction, too. "Hamas does have support among some Palestinians," he said, "but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist."

Good luck with that. In the meantime, Palestinian hopes for American pressure on Israel have been ignited — with what conflagrations to come we do not yet know.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



2 Comments | Post Comment
President Obama and his Muslim background won't help him nor America! If anything, it'll cause more dissension and as Taxpayers were told, many times over, the wars have just begun! This $100 million politicians are approving won't cover the cost of what they're actually doing putting Americans in Harms Way, let along pay for the 're-building' the countries (that's tried to destroy America) our military tore up! My God, In other words, politicians are saying "It's OK for them to blow up America, we'll build back, but it's not OK to blow up the terrorists' countries that will destroy America! America has lost it's backbone, because they're now trained to "don't drop the bombs where people are!" DUH? AN 'EYE FOR AND EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH' is the only way. OR' get them before they destroy America! As long as politicians continue to send Taxpayers' money and jobs to foreign countries, we're doomed!
As usual, the politicians are 'putting the cart before the horse!' Everyday, the politicians come up with 'How to Redistribute the wealth!' The latest cartoon "We can to protect low-income families!" Taxpayers say "Won't that create more low-income families?" Answer to this is 'ABSOLUTELY!' But they don't care, as long as they continue to receive the big salaries and retirements, continue lying, making up lies, with only a few being indicted, Isn't it about time cut their salaries and retirements to $12,000.00 yearly, OR, if this is unacceptable to them, sell them a one-way ticket to the foreign countries they sold America out to, take all their assets to pay off the trillions they've borrowed, without Taxpayers consent, and maybe, just maybe, America will be debt free by year 2035. The latest being "Pair ready to tackle health care overhaul', states Sebelius and DeParle! Why haven't they already 'overhauled' this system! They've been around the DC block a time or two! Taxpayers say 'thanks, but no thanks!' These seasoned politicians know it won't work. They have too much time on their hands. It's obvious this led Freddie, Fannie, HUD, AIG, Automakers, and anyone else taking Taxpayers' money, for endless money pits, into bankruptcy!

It's time to go back to the 'pay as you go' for doctors and hospitals! 'Fair Tax', to include property, should be top priority! Everyone must pay their share, including politicians! Otherwise, it's 'Discrimination against

While I'm on a roll, "Putting the cart before the horse"! When politicians took over, the Moonshiners' stills, for the revenue of course, started bottling, selling the booze, locking you up for drinking it, and furnishing a tax-paid
attorney, clothes, medicine, and food. Exorbitant costs and an endless money pit for Taxpayers, wouldn't you say? Politicians, now, want to build infrastructures without having textile and manufacturing jobs in America!
Another 'Cart before the horse' hair-brained scheme!

Taxpayers want Obama to live up to his stated 'he'd go over line by line and
eliminate the endless money pits!' Well, what's he waiting for?

Comment: #1
Posted by: Shirley deLong
Fri Jun 5, 2009 8:41 AM
The empty suit has an empty head where reality is concerned. How soon is this freak's term finished?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Juanito Verde
Fri Jun 5, 2009 10:21 AM
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