Obama and Jerusalem
Translated By Lainie Singerman
17 February 2013
Edited by Natalie Clager
Palestine - Al-Quds - Original Article (Arabic)
American President Barack Obama did not find himself compelled to send certain messages to Arabs and Muslims, nor did he burden himself or his administration with promises, statements or even just signals – quite the opposite. President Obama again confirmed that he is committed to Israel’s security above all else. With all the facts they spread in their statements, he and his advisors and experts are actually spreading the story that Israel is entering a state of contraction and recession. They suggest that Israel is no longer the region’s policeman and is becoming the obliging servant of the imperialist policies that dominated during the 19th and 20th centuries. These days, the understanding of the occupation has changed and so, too, has the understanding of this policeman, Israel. The reason for this is that the Arab and Islamic area has changed, and God knows it seems that this change will be long lasting.
So Israel is no longer fighting the system and no longer able to trust treaties or agreements. It is susceptible to criticism and vetoes and is no longer able to maintain superiority, capability or even legality. It is not continuing the media coverage and Western diplomacy that it is usually ready to do to conceal successive and recurring Israeli abuses. Obama referred to his upcoming trip in the context of promoting Israel’s security, which has been shaken and is expected to increase unsteadily in the reality of unexpectedly frequent change in the Arab and Islamic world.
Israel, it is claimed, is entering a stage of contraction and shrinkage on a military level and in terms of its role in the region. So the great Western countries pay to defend its interests with soldiers, tanks, aircraft and the blood of their sons – not those of Israel. So the violence, terrorism, sabotage of interests, distortion, destruction of all democratic and liberal proceedings and growing confrontation between the Muslim East and the Christian West are the products of destructive Western policies in our region. There is also the high price, unaffordable to the West, of reckless and provocative policies toward Israel over the long term.
More than this, there are regional parties willing to compete with Israel for its role, in total or in part. Likewise, alliances want confrontations between the angry masses or ethnic or sectarian groups, and the militarist or quasi-militarist parties and groups that are able to rally and mobilize. These confrontations will force the commanding authority to end the difficulty and portend the coming of chaos and civil disorder, the opposite of what some powers want. It will also portend the risk of Israel’s inability to face that disorder alone, which is the object of the initial confrontation. So, Israel’s security and regional role are completely on the table. Israel did not only lose its role as policeman, but that role became a military and economic burden.
It is not claimed here that this means the beginning of Israel’s abandonment or that Israel will be left to suffer alone. On the contrary, I say the West seeks another type of relationship with Israel, one of guidance and control, to minimize losses and prevent confrontations as much as possible. This was the reason for some appointments in the new American administration. Another component may be the rise of a political Islam ready for compromise or dialogue. Despite all the challenges that this rising group faces while learning the difficult new languages of governance and diplomacy, political Islam is also able to lead the region in the direction of compromise.
The confusion and disorder of political Islam does not mean its loss, abandonment, or unwillingness to receive power and authority over society. The West is completely aware of what is happening in our region and knows that there is at least one other contributing factor for the political and social disorder. They are completely aware that the Israelis may make more mistakes while they try to magically change the conditions in the street — something the West absolutely does not want the Israelis to attempt. The West also knows that, during this phase of disorder and confusion, with the absence of organization on the part of the Arabs, it is an ideal phase for compromise and settlement, reached through the use of either carrots or sticks.
Obama’s visit to our region comes for this purpose, without promises and without any signal of protecting Israel. By this I mean he wants Israel to be less disruptive and less provocative. And because he comes knowing that there is no united Arab organization here with a unified vision, he is exempt from presenting gestures of goodwill. So Obama comes to say that he will protect Israel, but at the same time, he demands, both in secret and in public, that Israel reduce its confrontation with the Palestinians in one form or another. And certainly Obama will pressure Palestinian parties to make a return to negotiations more likely, which will be America’s great achievement — breaking the impasse in the peace process and a success for American diplomacy.
We do not expect a lot from Obama’s visit to the region, only pressure and promises. It is really unfortunate that the Palestinians stand alone before all this. There is no Arab party ready for adventure or daring to help the Palestinians, and the official Arab policy is to accept and approve whatever the Palestinians accept. This policy is comfortable and not costly and conceals the Arabs’ policy shortfall, as they do not desire work on it or confrontation over it. So they leave the Palestinians alone before the Israelis and the Americans. Obama then will come to our region very reassuringly with no promises, no new plans, no troublesome positions, no hostile alliances, and no Palestinian reconciliation forcing discussion or the adoption of positions. So Palestinian reconciliation becomes more and more difficult. It settles in committees, old and stubborn positions and rushes to perpetuate the shared political and geographical situation. Obama comes to advise Israel and warn the Palestinians in the complete absence of a power in the region.
Finally, President Obama thinks he will visit the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the question is, will this visit have great implications for the President and his administration’s position on the fate of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa? There is no action on the ground and no campaigning against Al-Aqsa and its environs, so will Obama’s visit to Al-Aqsa kick off a new phase, or bolster his previous position? The answer to this will press all those who claim to love Al-Aqsa and protect and defend it.
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