Earlier this year, President Obama drove U.S.-Israeli relations — to use one of Obama's oft-employed analogies — into a ditch.
Arguably, ties between the two countries were never more strained than last spring when Obama serially insulted the elected leader of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vilified his country, and tried to euchre it into making territorial, political, and other ill-advised concessions to Arabs determined as ever to destroy the Jewish state.
Unfortunately, what the president has in mind for Israel after the election next week will make his previous treatment of the Jewish State look like the good old days.
To be sure, ties between the United States and Israel, far and away America's most important and loyal friend in the Middle East, have improved lately from the nadir to which Obama plunged them since he took office.
That has nothing to do, however, with a change of heart or agenda on the part of the president and his administration.
Rather, it is a reflection of a cynical calculation forced upon the Obama White House by its panicked congressional allies. Already laboring under the backbreaking burden of their association with a president and his agenda that have become huge liabilities, Democrats on Capitol Hill faced wholesale defections of their Jewish constituents and funders if their party's leader persisted in his assault on Israel.
Public letters and private conversations had the desired effect: Barack Obama began treating his Israeli counterpart with a modicum of respect and the optics of a restarted peace process — however short-lived or doomed — helped conjure up an image of a renewed partnership between the two nations.
Make no mistake about it, though: Once the 2010 elections are behind him, it is a safe bet that Obama will revert to form by once again exhibiting an unmistakable and ruthless determination to bend Israel to his will.
Worse yet, he will be able to take advantage of a vehicle for effecting the so-called "two-state solution," no matter how strenuously Israel and its friends in Washington object: The Palestinians will simply unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for international recognition, and Obama will accede to that request.
A number of the particulars involved in this gambit are unclear at the moment. For example, will the Palestinians announce the borders of their state to be the 1967 cease-fire lines, in which case large Israeli population centers (defiled as "settlements") will be inside a nation that is certain to be, to use Hitler's phrase, judenrein (free of Jews)?
How will the Hamas-stan of Gaza be connected to the currently PLO-run West Bank in a way that will make them "contiguous" without bisecting the Jewish state and ensuring that Hamas does not take over the rest of the so-called "Palestinian authority"?
Also unclear is precisely how Obama will handle the sticky issue of extending U.S. recognition of Palestine. Will he want to parallel Harry Truman's direct and immediate endorsement of the establishment of Israel in 1948? Or will he do it more disingenuously, as former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton speculated in The Wall Street Journal last week, by having the United States abstain from an approving vote by the United Nations Security Council?
The hope behind the latter would be that Team Obama and its partisans will somehow avoid retribution from Israel's friends, both Democrats and others, both here and abroad.
The truth is that, either way, Obama will have dealt Israel a potentially mortal blow. Without control of the high ground and water aquifers of the West Bank, the Jewish state is simply indefensible and unsustainable.
Some may suggest that international forces (perhaps led by the United States) should be deployed in the areas Jews have historically known as Judea and Samaria so as to ensure that they are not used to harm Israelis in the low-lying areas to the west.
We have seen how such arrangements work in practice in Lebanon, though — which is to say not well.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.
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