Statement on the 61st Anniversary of Israel’s IndependenceJonathan Tobin has some questions:
On behalf of the people of the United States, President Obama congratulates the people and government of Israel on the 61st anniversary of Israel’s independence. The United States was the first country to recognize Israel in 1948, minutes after its declaration of independence, and the deep bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Israel remain as strong and unshakeable as ever. The President looks forward to working with Israel to advance our common interests, including the realization of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, ensuring Israel’s security, and strengthening the bilateral relationship, over the months and years to come.
• While a “comprehensive peace” is an intrinsic good that both countries desire, how can it be achieved while the party with which Israel is expected to make such a peace is led by two factions — Hamas and Fatah — neither of which actually support the idea of real peace with a Jewish state?Obama's statement is simple and straightforward--what one would have expected. Down the road though, it would be nice to get past the rhetoric and address the hard questions that lurk behind the inevitable talk about the two state solution and the problems it poses.
• What sort of pressure are you prepared to put on the Palestinians in order to force them to cease support for terrorism and the fomenting of hatred against Israelis and Jews (hint: they already pledged to do this in the Oslo Accords and several follow-up agreements, but never made good on the promise)?
• While the United States is open in its desire for Israel to make more territorial withdrawals in the West Bank, what assurances can you possibly give the Israelis that this land will not be used as a launching pad for further terrorist attacks — as has been the case with the Gaza Strip since Israel left in 2005?
• Most importantly, what, other than making statements that the Iranians consider a sign of weakness and irresolution, are you prepared to do in order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — something that you promised to do during your campaign for the presidency — with which they can threaten both Israel’s existence and the stability of every Arab regime in the region?
But someone we never get to the hard questions.
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