There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction. America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel.
Obama came into office trying to put space between the Israeli and US positions, that has done nothing but make the terrorists stronger and the Israelis weaker. The Palestinians specifically target civilians, men, women, small children through attacks on a plethora of targets, homes, school buses, kindergartens. Israel, on the other hand, has shown an amazing amount of restraint, continuing to target armed fighters instead of innocent people as proven by the low civilian-combatant in Gaza. In remarks in June, Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan said, "the UN estimate that there has been an average three-to-one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts worldwide. Three civilians for every combatant killed. That is the estimated ratio in Afghanistan: three to one. In Iraq, and in Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to be four-to-one. Anecdotal evidence suggests the ratios were very much higher in Chechnya and Serbia. In Gaza, it was less than one-to-one. In essence, the Israelis have done more than just about about any country in the world to minimize civilian deaths and have received almost no credit for this fact from the world and especially not from the Obama administration.
It was wrong for this Administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister's visit, we see in this American Administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naïve.
I never really understood the pre-1967 border demand for negotiations. Essentially, that would make the basis of negotiations to be that one side gives the other side 100% of the disputed territories before even sitting down at the table (and the idea of land swaps doesn't change the fact that the Palestinians would be receiving land that equals 100% of the area of the current "occupied territories"). How does this make any sense in the world? What incentives does it give for the Palestinians to give up anything? Their record so far is to refuse to accept any offer given them knowing the international community will put pressure on Israel to give up even more. In return, the Palestinians haven't given up anything. They won't even accept Israel as a Jewish state! Clearly, this doesn't work and this idea needs to be scrapped.
While the administration is right to finally agree to fight the Arab resolution at the U.N., it bears repeating that we wouldn't be here today if they had stuck to some basic principles concerning Palestinian statehood:
First, Palestinian leaders must publicly affirm Israel's right to exist, and to exist as a Jewish state
It's really sad that 17 years after the Oslo accords, the Palestinians still haven't given in on this issue.
Second, President Abbas must persuade all factions including Hamas to renounce acts of terrorism and release kidnapped Israeli Gilad Shalit
Everyone in the Western media seems to have forgotten about Shalit, a poor kid who was kidnapped by Hamas. Also, everyone seems to have forgotten that negotiations with Arafat only really started after he officially renounced terrorism in 1988 (of course that was a lie). But that was the whole basis of the negotiations in the first place and the Palestinians should be forced to honor that original promise.
To date, we have fumbled our greatest opportunity for regime change. As average Iranian citizens were marching on Tehran in the Green Revolution in 2009, America was wasting precious time on a naïve policy of outreach to both the Iranian and Syrian governments.
Remember how silent Obama was during the Green Revolution? He seems to get much braver when criticizing our allies and forcing their ouster. Obama was quickly able to dispose of Mubarak in Egypt but acted much slower in the cases of Libya, Syria and Iran. My guess is Perry won't be that way.
Third, the Palestinians must know their gambit comes with consequences in particular that America will have to reconsider the $4 billion in assistance we have provided to the Palestinians over the last 17 years.
This is an important threat. So far the Palestinians have been able to do whatever they have wanted with zero consequences. And we all know that the members of the Palestinian government are skimming a lot of aid off the top. Any cut in aid would have a direct impact on that corrupt "government" and might actually force them to talk seriously. Remember, bombing Hanoi did wonders to get the Vietnamese serious about peace (though of course they reneged in the end).
I like how he refers to our alliance with Turkey and Egypt in the past tense. Clearly neither country is acting like an ally anymore, it's time we realized this and acted accordingly.
And fifth, we must signal to the world, including nations like Turkey and Egypt whom we have considered allies in recent years, that we won't tolerate aggression against Israel.
Israel is our friend and ally. I have traveled there several times, and met with its leaders. It is not a perfect nation, but its existence is critical to America's security in the world.
It is time to change our policy of appeasement toward the Palestinians to strengthen our ties to the nation of Israel, and in the process establish a robust American position in the Middle East characterized by a new firmness and a new resolve.
If America does not head off the aggression of forces hostile to Israel we will only embolden them.
That would be a tragic mistake.
Rick Perry is clearly not perfect, but he would be so much better for Israel than the current administration has been. I'm sure some would argue that he would be a death sentence for the peace process but that flies in the face of historical facts. George W. Bush was very pro-Israel as well (though probably not as much as Perry) and at that point the Israelis and Palestinians were actively talking with each other. There have been almost no direct talks since Obama came in and tried to create space between the US and Israeli positions.