Team Obama is throwing Israel to the diplomatic wolves – Benny Avni/New York Post
President Obama’s determination to turn America into just another one of the United Nations’ 193 members sends a clear message to Israel: You’re on your own. And nowhere was that more obvious than at last week’s UN General Assembly in New York — or its follow-up: this weekend’s stabbing and shooting spree that left four Israelis dead, with more violence sure to come.
Striving for relevance at Turtle Bay’s annual gabfest, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rallied the pro-Palestinian faithful by highlighting imaginary Israeli violations of religious rights in Jerusalem. The deadly anti-Jewish violence that followed was utterly predictable.
Can America help? Only if we change diplomatic course.
For now, Washington has stopped pressing Abbas to deal with Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry recently nixed a planned meeting between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Instead, America increasingly allows a UN gang-up on Israel. There, naturally, Netanyahu is pushed to make concessions to the Palestinians even as Abbas emptily declares he’d end all past agreements with the Jewish state.
America’s sensibilities now increasingly resemble Turtle Bay’s. Last week, Obama said we can no longer “solve the world’s problems alone,” so we’ll coordinate everything with the international community (in which the United States, at best, will strive to be an organizer).
Israel, meanwhile, drifts away from that community. As America shuns the image of Sheriff Will Kane in “High Noon,” it was up to Netanyahu to be Gary Cooper’s strong, silent type. Addressing the UN General Assembly Thursday, he scolded the dignitaries for refusing to stand up to bad guys, indicating he’d save himself and them — if necessary, all by his lonesome. And he gave them a now-famous 44-second silent treatment.
And then came the most awkward moment of Bibi’s speech. When he declared the US-Israel alliance “unshakable,” a UN camera showed the US table, which, like that of Netanyahu-averse countries, was manned only, yet ostentatiously, by lower-level officials.
Top Cabinet members Kerry and UN Ambassador Samantha Power were at Turtle Bay that day, but when Bibi spoke, only a Power lieutenant, David Pressman, Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and semi-retired diplomat Richard Erdman were listening.
Kerry and Power, a State Department official tells me, were summoned to a video conference with Obama. Perhaps so. But the optics of an Israeli leader praising an alliance with a country that sends only lower-level diplomats to hear him was astounding.
So was what happened behind the scenes. Together with colleagues from the Mideast Quartet (America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations), Kerry issued a lengthy statement that for the first time omitted a long-standing call for a renewal of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
That Quartet grouping was formed during George W. Bush’s presidency to “appease the troublemakers,” as a former State Department official described it, so America could keep Europe, the Arabs and eager-beaver UN types out of serious Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy. They’d vent and issue empty statements as America alone tried to get Israel and the Palestinians to talk and move the process forward.
No longer. Now the Quartet’s the game.
And it’s growing. The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and the secretary-general of the Arab League joined its meeting last week, and the Quartet called on them (and others) to be more involved.
And with that, everybody and his brother gangs up on Israel, demanding concessions that no one asks of Abbas, the man the “community” applauds. Israel remains alone in its belief that too many chefs will spoil the peace broth.
Ending his fight against the Iran deal, Netanyahu says he’ll now negotiate an arms package, putting Washington’s military support of Israel on display. Of course, that only highlights the irony of Obama’s diplomatic abandonment: He’s leaving the use of force as the only option on the table for the Israelis, isolating them from the diplomatic process.
And as Politico reported last week, Obama is refusing pleas from top Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid to declare he’d veto some of Abbas’ most egregious UN shenanigans — another signal the Israelis will be on their own.
No longer pressured to deal with Israel, Abbas riles the international community and violent followers at home. There will be more blood.