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Misreading Obama's Strategy

Reader comment on item: A Rapid and Harsh Turn against Israel

Submitted by Ryan Kay (South Africa), Jun 4, 2009 at 03:31

As a passionate defender of Israel and the United States (and a Likud supporter who would have voted for McCain) I realise how easy it is to fall into the trap of denigrating Obama as an anti-Israel demagogue and Muslim dhimmi who will try and weaken Israel at every turn. But surely the 'fight' over outposts and settlement growth is much ado about nothing?

It is abundantly clear that unchecked Israeli settlement activity is a major weapon in the hands of the Palestinians and other extremists. It is also clear that in any final status agreement Israel will be forced back roughly to the 1967 borders give or take certain 'unmovable' settlement blocks.It is in the best interests of both the USA and Israel to check unnecessary settlement expansion. The people of Israel are not hostages to Shas and the fringe Greater Israel right wing.

The people of Israel want peace and are willing to make sacrifices provided that there is commensurate sacrifice on the Palestinian side and an end to the maximalist demands on the Palestinian side.I firmly believe that Netanyahu and Lieberman are arch pragmatists and privately accept a Palestinian 'state' minus the powers to harm Israel.

Obama picking a fight over this issue wins him instant credibility in the Muslim world. It makes him appear to be the first American president taking the side of the Arabs and allows him to make greater demands for reciprocity on their part (whether they finally decide to move towards peace is another issue altogether). This is a small battle that Israel can not only afford to 'lose' but in the minds of the Israeli pragmatists it must one day unfortunately lose.

If Obama begins challenging fundamental Israeli interests such as clear military superiority, nuclear deterrent, aid packages, UN support from the USA etc. then its time to worry. Until then I think a lot of us are being far too quick to prejudge.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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