by Bassam Tawil
Many Arabs and Muslims are rubbing their hands in joy as they watch U.S. President Barack Obama declare war on Israel after the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party in last week’s general election.
They do not see the rising tensions between Obama and Netanyahu as the result of a personal dispute between two leaders. Instead, the dispute is seen by many Arabs and Muslims as part of the Obama Administration’s strategy to undermine Israel and force it to make territorial concessions that would pose an existential threat to Israel.
At the beginning of his first term in office, he raised high hopes in the Arab and Islamic countries when he rushed to deliver an apologetic speech at the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Al-Azhar University in Cairo. His speech left many Arabs and Muslims with the impression that here, finally, is an American president who is prepared to sacrifice Israel for the sake of appeasing its enemies.
Muslims have long considered Obama to be on their side in the conflict with Israel. They were expecting him to become the first U.S. president to abandon Israel in favor of Arabs and Muslims. But since the 2009 speech in Cairo, there has been great disappointment with Obama in the Arab and Islamic countries for failing to “do something” about Israel.
Now, at long last, the Obama Administration’s increased hostility toward Israel is being welcomed in many Arab and Islamic capitals. They are overjoyed to see that after failing the Arabs and Muslims for the past six years, Obama seems finally to be moving in the “right” direction.
Terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hizbullah, Al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad are also expressing satisfaction with what they see as Obama’s “declaration of war” against Israel. Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank are also celebrating over the fact that Israel has become the number one enemy of the Obama Administration.
This week, a Palestinian Authority official was quoted as saying that the Palestinians would not be surprised if President Obama himself joined their campaign to file war crimes charges against Israel before the International Criminal Court. The official was reported to have told a Ramallah-based Western diplomat that Obama hates Israel and this was good news for the Palestinians.
Israel’s enemies have been sitting on its borders and waiting for an opportunity to attack. One of the reasons they have been reluctant until now to wage an all-out war to destroy Israel was their fear that the U.S. would come to Israel’s rescue. But now, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Islamic State and other terror groups are hopeful that Obama has finally decided to abandon Israel.
The terrorists also have been following with great enthusiasm reports that the Obama Administration is considering reassessing its policy in the Middle East in the wake of Netanyahu’s electoral victory. This is exactly the kind of news they have been waiting to hear for so many years — that the U.S. no longer considers Israel its main strategic ally in the Middle East.
Reports that the Obama Administration will no longer support Israel in international forums and agencies, especially in the UN General Assembly and Security Council, are seen by a growing number of Arabs and Muslims as the beginning of the end of the partnership between the U.S. and Israel. This partnership has worried Israel’s enemies for decades because it stands in the way of achieving their goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.
In short, Obama’s anti-Israel stance is the best gift the Americans could have given to Islamist terrorists and radical Arabs. For the first time ever, the Obama Administration has created hope among Israel’s enemies that the U.S. will at last give them his wholehearted support, just as he has been doing with Iran.
The sharp crisis between the Obama Administration and Israel has been taking place at a time when the U.S. is losing most of its Arab and Muslim friends, especially in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, as well as other countries. It is also taking place at a time when Iran is capturing one Arab country after the other, and has now surrounded all the oilfields in the Persian Gulf, as well as having quietly for years infiltrated South America.
Thanks to Obama’s policies, the Iranians and their friends are now in control of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, and much of Bahrain, and have surrounded the oilfields of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been forced to close down its embassies in three Arab countries — Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Instead of facing the dangers of the Iranian drive to export the Islamic revolution to as many Arab and Islamic countries as possible — with the help of an accelerating operation to acquire nuclear weapons — Obama has turned Israel in general, and Netanyahu in particular, into the main threat to world peace and stability.
And instead of congratulating the Israeli people for being one of the few countries in the Middle East to hold real free and democratic elections, Obama has decided to inflict collective punishment not on Netanyahu, but on all Israelis, even its Muslim and Christian citizens, for having an election that came out not the way he wanted it to.
What Obama does seem to want is to force Israel to accept a Palestinian state that would pose an existential threat to it and become the source of instability and tensions in the region. Obama also seems not to want to face the fact that because of his withdrawals and neglect, the situation in the Middle East today, with the rise of Islamic State and other terror groups, is not the same as it was even five years ago.
Even Palestinians and Arabs are aware of the fact that under the current circumstances a Palestinian state would sooner or later be controlled by jihadists and Islamic terrorists, whose dream is the destruction of Israel, Europe and the U.S.
If Obama is interested in reconsidering his Middle East policy, he should start by examining the repercussions of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on regional and international security. The last thing Americans and Europeans need is another Islamic extremist country that exports terrorism — most probably with nuclear weapons — to all parts of the earth.
Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu. The real enemy is Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Islamic State. Unfortunately, Obama — as he continues undermining moderate Muslims and Arabs in the free world — has decided to side with the wrong side.