To Catch The Bus, Take The Helicopter…
By Gerald A. Honigman
Governor Romney is about to visit Israel during the increasing heat of this summer’s presidential election season.
While running for office, almost all candidates say what they feel the voters want to hear. Yet that’s not always the case…unless you also believe that you can get away with doing the opposite–for one reason or another.
Case in point…
Among the biggest headaches Israel has with President Obama is his insistence that Israel return to its 1949, U.N.-imposed armistice lines which made it a mere 9 to 15 miles wide at its waist, where most of its population and infrastructure are located. Most folks have to travel farther than that just to go to work or to the shopping mall. Israel existed this way until the June 1967 Six Day War (started when Arabs blockaded it at the Straits of Tiran and Gulf of Aqaba –a casus belli–and other hostile acts), and those lines did nothing but constantly tempt Israel’s enemies to sever it in half.
In the wake of that war, as many have frequently noted, Israel was promised by the architects of the final draft of the main official guide for peacemaking, UNSC Resolution 242, that it would never have to return to those vulnerable armistice lines. Since I’ve written extensively about this myself, I won’t pursue this further here. Nothing more really needs to be added, so please check, for example, President Obama’s Much-Needed Walk Down Memory Lane to fill in the details.
Besides Israel and the Jewish people’s several thousand year connections (including land ownership right into the 20th century) to the disputed territories such as Judea and Samaria (called that for millennia before British imperialism also named them the “West Bank” after World War I), Israel had been promised, via 242, more secure, defensible, and real borders to replace its previous Auschwitz/armistice lines. And, again, this is what the nastiness between Israel, Obama, and the ever-hostile State Department (which fought President Truman over Israel’s very resurrection in the first place in 1948) is largely all about.
If Israel is to get the buffer 242 promised, Jews must be able to live–as they did throughout history when they were not physically prevented–beyond the ’49 armistice lines. That’s what the “settlement” issue really involves.
Now, say what you want about President Obama regarding his approach to this matter, but one thing is certain. He has been honest and has not waffled. Many folks–especially Lefty Hebrews–may not have listened, but he has stuck to his same position for years now. My own book documents this very carefully (http://q4j-middle-east.com/)
Both Senator and President Obama have repeatedly stated that Israel would be crazy (his exact words) to not accept the alleged Saudi Peace (of the grave) Plan, and one of its main provisions insists that Israel return to the ’49 armistice lines.
Arabs can conquer, forcibly Arabize, and subjugate scores of millions of non-Arab peoples in what they subsequently proclaimed to be “purely Arab patrimony,” but how dare Judeans–Jews–return to at least parts of Judea…or even to east Jerusalem. Brits can grab the Falkland Islands, over 8,000 miles away from home off the Argentine coast, the Russians can conquer Chechnya, America can stake claim to Samoa–but how dare Jews return to Samaria. And when at least some Israeli leaders have dared to protest, they have been treated in the most disrespectful of ways–especially by the Obama Administration.
For this and some other troubling reasons (like the Obama folks constantly leaking information detrimental to Israel’s security), Governor Romney has repeatedly spoken of how Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.
While the bus saying may be catchy, it’s not specific. And, as is also said, talk is cheap…
The Governor is due to arrive in Israel as Jews observe one of the most solemn days on their millennial-old calendar, Tisha B’Av (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av). It is the date that both Temples (which Obama’s Arab good buddies deny ever existed) were destroyed; the second major revolt of the Jews for their freedom and independence under the leadership of Shimon Bar Kochba was crushed by the Emperor Hadrian’s forces in 135 C.E. (reported by the Roman historians themselves); and so forth.
Romney must spell out very clearly how his actual policies and actions will differ from the man whom he hopes to convince Jews and others back home in America to not vote for.
What will President Romney’s position be regarding the promise of UNSC Resolution 242 for Israel to finally receive real, more secure borders–which must thus involve a territorial compromise–from the disputed territories? Will he say one thing now, but expect another after November?
While Arabs demand recognition and creation of their 22nd state, they still insist that Israel will never be recognized by them as a State of the Jews. How will a President Romney handle this issue? It doesn’t bother Obama a bit…The only demands and pressure he knows how to apply is on Israeli leaders who don’t prostrate themselves low enough to his and the State Department’s demands.
Speaking of the State Department, there’s talk of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice being a possible running mate for Romney. She was as nasty as Hillary and almost as bad as James Baker on these same and related issues.
So, I have some additional advice (besides some earlier – Dear Mr. Romney… ) for Governor Romney as he touches down in the land of the Jews…
Back in 1998, when President George W. Bush was still a governor like himself, he visited his friend Ariel Sharon In Israel. Here’s an excerpt from a December 3, 1998, press release from his office quoting him:
…was able to learn about security needs…. Hard to believe, as a Texan, how small Israel is… we’re used to huge spaces…. Just got off the campaign where I spent nearly everyday in a King Air trying to get from one stop to the other. Had I gotten on that same King Air and I took off out of Jerusalem it would have been no time before I’d be in either Jordan or in Syria. It’s a small country… important for our host to remind our delegation of how really small it was, so I got on a helicopter… flew with foreign minister Ariel Sharon to see firsthand how small… between enemy lines and population centers.
It was on this helicopter flight that, according to his press secretary, Ari Fleischer, Bush also commented, regarding the tiny strategic waist of Israel, “In Texas, we have driveways longer than that.”
Perhaps at least partly as a result of this experience, and despite some later backtracking under Arab, Big Oil, and State Department pressure, when Bush became President of the United States and Prime Minister Sharon unilaterally totally withdrew from strategic territory in Gaza from which Israel was repeatedly attacked, at an April 2004 news conference, Bush took a stand that might yet some day lead to peace between Jews and Arabs–if only a new American administration regains the courage displayed back then.
With millions watching him, President Bush proclaimed the two key ingredients of such a recipe:
Israel should not be expected to return to indefensible armistice lines (and he called them just that, not “borders”); and,
Any and all real or fudged Arab refugees would have to go to the additional, new Arab state, not overwhelm Jews in Israel (as Arabs indeed have in mind). Recall that half of Israel’s Jews were refugees themselves from so-called “Arab” or Muslim lands.
By the way, another major provision of that Saudi Peace (of the grave) Plan that Obama insists upon calls for Israel to be flooded by Arab refugees. Recall that this is the very plan that Obama says Israel would be crazy not to accept. Now just imagine what will happen if he gets re-elected in 2012 and doesn’t have to worry about running again?
Returning to more positive thoughts, for Romney to truly catch what is meant by saying such things as throwing Israel under the bus, it would be useful for him (and more convincing for others) for the Governor to take the same helicopter flight that his friend President Bush did years earlier.
For anyone who has truly studied Obama, the company he keeps, his good buddies, key foreign policy appointees, close advisors, and so forth, unless one’s head is stuck in the sand (which too many folks’ are), there is no doubt that (except at Hebrew fund-raising time) he is more concerned about creating a 22nd state for Arabs (and second, not first, in the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine–Jordan was carved out of almost 80% of the total area in 1922) than in the security of the sole, minuscule, reborn nation of the Jews. Such a helicopter ride will thus have little or no meaning for the current occupant of the White House.
While Romney is not Obama, to truly be taken seriously himself, given the rhetoric which normally accompanies the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict during election time, the Governor must flesh out his nice sayings with concrete positions–ones that he will stand by after November. If he does this, he might just awaken enough folks from their self-imposed slumber to put himself over the top in what promises to be a close election.