Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Middle East, an Issue That Has Plagued the Region for Centuries

There's been justified hilarity on the Intertoobz over POTUS's clumsy, clueless remarks on Israel-Palestine the other day.  (Plus, of course, predictable scrambling by The Commander-in-Chief's lackeys and apologists to make it seem that his remarks were competent and statesmanlike.)  Quoth POTUS:
So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
Sad.  But being cursed with an undisciplined and out-of-control memory, I couldn't help thinking of remarks made in answer to a college student's question by another POTUS in January 2010.  I know, I know, it was a long time ago, another lifetime, practically another century, who could possibly remember that far back?
The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries, and it's an issue that elicits a lot of passions as you have heard. Here's my view. Israel is one of our strongest allies, it has...[applause] let me play this out. It is a vibrant democracy. It shares links with us in all sorts of ways. is critical...for us...and I will never waver from ensuring Israel's security, and helping them secure themselves in what is a really hostile region. I make no apologies for that.
Note especially that first sentence: Trump couldn't have bettered it.  By 2013, Obama had his act down.  Asked a hostile but not unreasonable question (which he didn't understand, since it was in Hebrew), Obama mocked the questioner, an Arab-Israeli student from Haifa University, joking, "I have to say we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home ... I wouldn't feel comfortable if I didn't have at least one heckler."

I hold no brief for Trump.  But isn't it nice to know that, far from the upheavals that Democrats warned we would face, we have so much continuity between POTUS Barack Obama and his POTUS successor on this and other vital issues?  The issue here isn't their lack of eloquence in response to questions, but that there's not a lot of daylight between Obama and Trump on Israel-Palestine.  Obama talked prettier, but he still let Netanyahu have more or less whatever he wanted.  The outcome for Palestinians was terrible, as it will probably be under Trump.