US Elections: Middle East and Israeli-Palestine Peace

One of the most contentious issues that has arisen in the presidential campaign has been the effort by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (known widely as Bibi”) to intervene in the U.S. election on the side of Mitt Romney; an old pal of his from their greedy days of both making money in a company that was the creator of Bain Capital. You know who they are.  But that is not the full story since Bibi also wants to call the shots for the U.S. on a war with Iran over nuclear weapons by drawing us into conflict before it is necessary or wise.

On September 11th, in reaction to U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that the U.S would not set a deadline for Iran’s capitulation to halting its nuclear program, Netanyahu said, “The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’” He added, “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

Netanyahu’s “Red-Line” is nothing more than an effort to set the time and conditions for a U.S. act of war against Iran. It is also designed to undermine and undo sanctions and diplomacy which previously, Netanyahu, in public words, has supported. The conclusion that could be reached is that Bibi does not really want a diplomatic or peaceful solution and would prefer to entangle the U.S. in a conflict that may not be necessary in America’s or the international community’s interest.

But the problem here in the U.S. is that politicians of all parties think they must bow to any and all of Israel’s demands, even if the demands are going to lead to making Israel’s security more at risk.  Just about every independent strategic expert has come to the conclusion that Israel would suffer the most in a war with Iran.  War would set loose in the region a catastrophic reaction of conflict and revenge that would be unbelievably costly to Israel.  The consensus is that an attack would only result in a delay of 2 or (at the most) 4 years in an Iranian nuclear weapon and such an event would likely lead to the spread of such weapons throughout the region.

Romney has been the most blatant in words and deeds in bending his remarks to mirror Netanyahu’s most absurd wishes. He has done so by suggesting support of the Prime Minister’s infamous ”Red Line” – which in effect demands that America go to war on his command.  No American president can or should accept this dictation.

As we have observed before, the path of real security rests in negotiations, mutual compromises, and in a two state solution; whose outline has long been known and been on the table which Israel and the Palestinians have been given some lip service at times for. Nevertheless, they are, as yet, still unwilling to accept the whole “package” for the sake of a wider enduring peace.

Israel has time and time again acted in ways to thwart the peace process and (under Netanyahu especially) has caused blockage by the expansion of illegal settlements and coercive acts against the Palestinians. The Palestinians also need to move towards accepting that they too should move on some key issues.

What Romney does not yet understand is that America remains an indispensable actor to “guarantee” security for both sides after an agreement. He has acted in such a way that our role as a honest broker and seeker of a fair balance outcome has been impaired by his foolish and reckless statements. These include his dismissal of the importance of working for a peace agreement and to the two state formula as its base, which he has only recently “re-stated” to include in his lexicon once its stupidity was exposed to public scrutiny.

His real sentiments were revealed in his leaked fundraiser recording of last May where he said that he intends to “kick the can down the road” on the Israel-Palestine issues. He added that he does not trust the Palestinians with a state. Which one may we ask is his real view and which is a lie?

This playing with a volatile and difficult situation is simply outrageous. Romney is playing into Netanyahu’s hands like a sheep going to slaughter with about the same level of brain power.

In a September 23rd interview with CBS’s 60 minutes, Obama properly stated, “When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people.”

What must be kept in mind for American policy is the situation in the entire region and how to help, with our allies, to guide as much as possible the major changes taking place toward peaceful, secure, and prosperous outcomes for all. This can’t be done by bluster, our military on the ground, cuts suggested by Romney in our assistance programs, nor by foolishness and ignorance of realities.  

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