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Obama’s Not-So-Israel Legacy

Benjamin Netanyahu
Written by Mary Anna Mancuso

As the sun begins to set on Obama’s eight years in office, the legacy President Obama will leave behind may come down to four things:

  1. The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare)
  2. The (failed) Red Line with Syria
  3. The Arab Spring
  4. The tarnished relationship with America’s biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel.

While each of the four points during Obama’s presidency have left their mark on America, only one point has cost America more than the strained ties with Bibi Netanyahu and the state of Israel.

Upon entering office in 2009, the Obama administration sought a ten-month settlement freeze, which went directly against the previous agreement forged during the Bush administration. The agreement between the United States and Israel had originally created the formula for Israel to build settlements. The settlement project took place along the so-called Green Line, marking the borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and could continue as long as Israel built within the boundaries of existing settlements, not outside them. This would ensure the construction would not affect the amount of land available for a Palestinian state.

Fast forward to last week when the United Nations passed a resolution telling Israel to halt the building of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The resolution called Israel’s construction in Palestinian territory a “flagrant violation under international law” and an obstacle to peace. This halt on Israel’s settlement construction is an attempt to salvage a two-state solution. UNSC resolution defines settlements as every piece of territory that was taken by Israel in the war of June 1967. This includes the Western Wall and the Golan Heights.

While the resolution passed 14-0, the United States abstained instead of using its lateral veto, which it has used in the past to show support for its ally in the Middle East. This break from diplomatic tradition has caused even more of a strain on America/Israel relations, which, up until last week, many did not think it possible. 

Over the eight years of Obama’s presidency, the relationship between America and Israel has been tumultuous, at best. And last week United States/Israel relations reached a boiling point with Obama’s decision to not block the United Nations Security Council resolution. This decision has caused a hyper-politicized showdown, making the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral look like child’s play.

The impact of the United States abstention has created a diplomatic hot mess and Israel is not taking this lightly. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office released a statement condemning Obama and his administration for failing to protect Israel at the United Nations. As Netanyahu adds the United States to Israel’s Burn Book, Americans and Israelis alike are fuming over another botched move by Obama, pointing out that this resolution is not a path to peace in the Middle East or to a two-state solution and, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the vote against Israel is a blow to peace and sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel.

It is apparent the resolution is unbalanced and takes aim at Israel with America leading the charge, especially since previous peace agreements have focused on both Israel and Palestine versus singling out Israel. However, it is important to point out that past peace agreements between Palestine and Israel have broken down not because of settlements, but because the Palestinian leadership refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state by requiring the so–called “right of return” of three million Palestinians to Israel proper.

The two-state solution would give both Palestine and Israel their own states, but with resolutions like the one just passed, it seems more like a continuation of war versus a proposal for peace, especially since it ignores previous concessions made by Israel, such as withdrawing from most of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the agreement to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians. 

As the Obama administration (*cough, cough* John Kerry *cough, cough*) blames Israeli settlements as the true obstacle to peace in the Middle East, the divide between America and Israel becomes more fractured, making the last three weeks of Obama’s presidency the true definition of a lame duck presidency. There is no question, Obama will spend the rest of his time in the White House playing defense as to why he burned the bridge with America’s greatest ally, possibly destroying the only hope for a pathway to peace in the Middle East. 

 

Mary Anna Mancuso, Political Strategist and Founder of PoliticalHype.com. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.

Comments

2 Comments

  • Let’s look at the numbers of the US-Israeli relationship. The Bush Administration sent a total of $22.2B in aid to Israel over 8 years. Meanwhile the Obama Administration sent $23.96B. Almost $2 billion more.
    The United States gives out a total of $8.1B in aid globally per year, $3.1B goes to Israel, that’s almost half.
    Israel’s settlements are illegal as defined by international law. Every single other UNSC member voted to end the settlements, except the United States. All of these other countries, autocracies alike, have voted against the settlements and condemned them as violations of international law.
    Meanwhile, Israel has created an apartheid state where Palestinians are treated as 2nd class member of society and exploited by the Israelis, not to mention to brutal murders on both sides of the conflict.
    Most shockingly is that Israel claims to be democratic but wants to also be a “jewish” state. You can’t have it both ways. Democracy means protecting the rights and freedoms of every person. You cannot subject a segment of the population to cruel and inhumane treatment because they are of a different religion or ethnicity. That’s fundamentally anti-democratic.
    But, back to the original point, The Obama Administration has giving more military aid to Israel than his predecessor, and almost half of all American military aid globally. Obama fights back on literally 1 aspect of Israel’s tyranny and the right goes crazy. Why are we supporting such a repressive regime?

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About the author

Mary Anna Mancuso

Mary Anna Mancuso is the founder of Politicalhype.com, a conservative blog focusing on Florida and National politics from a Millennial perspective.

Mancuso most recently, worked on Lindsey Graham’s presidential campaign as a social media strategist. During the 2014 election cycle, Mancuso was the Digital Director for Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s reelection campaign. In 2012, Mancuso served as Deputy Communications Director for Congressman Connie Mack’s U.S. Senate campaign in Florida; where she was in charge of the campaign’s social media efforts. As a result of her efforts in the social media space Mancuso was named one of Florida's up and coming conservatives by the top political blog in Florida, "The Shark Tank." Mancuso has a strong background in communications and social media. She has worked at the New York Bureau of Fox News and NBC-Universal. In 2009 Mancuso worked as the Deputy Communications Director for the Republican party of Virginia where she launched their digital platform for the state party.