• A survey found that an awful lot of people in Holland believe Israel is carrying out genocide against the Palestinians. Professor Manfred Gerstenfeld blames the Dutch media.
All of this culminates in the basic Israeli fear that welcoming hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into “one just state for two peoples” would be tantamount to offering your enemy your throat and a knife with which to cut it. There is scant evidence of cooperation on which to build trust, and the darker side of the scales is heavy.
Where does this leave us? Sadly, back at the status quo. Currently nobody seems to be offering a viable way out of the impasse in the Middle East. But it is certain that Gideon Levy, for all his noble aspirations, is not showing us the way in the real world.
Though generally ignored by the international press, it is “Abbas-ism” that rules the PA. Abbas makes occasional publicized statements conciliatory to Israel, but he maintains a flirtatious relationship with Hamas, religiously committed to Israel’s destruction. His anti-Israel incitement in PA media, mosques and schools approaches worst-ever levels. He regularly refers to all of Israel as occupied, accuses Israel of “daily killing our unarmed people,” “assaulting Islamic and Christian holy sites,” and “pursuing its hobby—murder and destruction.” He claims (imaginary) Israeli excavations “under the foundations of the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque continue, with the aim of causing its structure to collapse.” He glorifies the perpetrators of the most grisly terror attacks against Jews. And he demands peace-process preconditions so unserious that even the Likud-loathing Obama administration won’t bite. The pundits yawn.
Above all, Israelis have shied away from action on the theory that Mr. Obama’s red lines were real, even if he drew them further down field than Israel would like. What’s the point of rushing to do something yourself at great immediate risk, when you can wait for someone else to do it, at much less risk to them or to you, a little later?
Sound logic, one flaw: There is no someone else. Israelis are now watching how the administration reacts when a rogue regime crosses the president’s red lines. It calls for a U.N. investigation to corroborate the findings of Western intelligence agencies. It justifies the exercise in the name of international consensus. It emphasizes the need to avoid the mistakes of the Iraq war.
That’s the path the administration is traveling in the Syrian chemical-weapons case, and things will only get worse.
• A cartoon shared by Memri captured the prevailing mood in the op-ed sections.
• Aaron David Miller‘s advice to Obama: Stop setting red lines:
Whatever Obama does on Syria, he should make sure that he doesn’t say anything that he’s not prepared to act on. “As president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” he famously said with regard to U.S. policy toward Tehran. It’s just as good advice when it comes to America’s approach to Damascus.
U.S. street cred is already at all time low in the Middle East. We don’t need what remains of U.S. credibility to be lost in the gap between the president’s words and his deeds.
• Richard Cohen: Obama’s red lines are red herrings.
• Michael Young‘s take on Hezbollah was the only non-WMD op-ed worth reading today.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Israel, Turkey and NATO — there’s no return to the good ol’ days.
• Amir Taheri wonders why Iranian leaders are backpedaling on Holocaust denial. I don’t know what else to call it but “Holocaust denial-denial.”
• Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Israel from Shimon Peres. Times of Israel coverage.
(Image of windmill via Flickr/laszlo-photos)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.