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Commentary: Obama betrayed Israel out of spite and a preference for the Palestinian cause

United States President Barack Obama meets President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. This is one of several meetings between the President and Middle East Leaders in advance of the opening of the first direct talks in two years between Israel and the Palestinian Authority scheduled to begin at the State Department in Washington, D.C. tomorrow..Credit: Ron Sachs / Pool via CNP

Israel is preparing to hand over what they're calling "clear evidence" to the Trump administration proving the Obama administration planned to abstain from Friday's vote at the United Nations that made Israeli settlement building illegal in Palestinian-occupied regions of Jerusalem. That vote, without the veto vote from the United States, also declared any further Israeli settlements in those regions an  "obstacle to peace" with the Palestinians. Which is all fine and well if one truly believes the Palestinians have peace on their minds. However, there's plenty of evidence that refutes that claim.

Take for example what's already happened in the wake of the vote. As Bloomberg reports, the behavior of Palestinian leadership has been anything but characterized by peace.

Palestinians and their supporters already are trying to haul Israeli officials before the International Criminal Court in The Hague; the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement is urging consumers, artists, universities, corporations and others to cut ties with Israel; and the EU already requires member states to label products from beyond the Green Line distinctively. Resolution 2334 is likely to give a tailwind to those efforts. It could also “open a venue for the Palestinians in the future to go on with their case” against Israel at the ICC, said Mkhaimar Abusada, a Palestinian political scientist at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University.

With this kind of immediate salivating to declare Israeli officials criminals, it's little wonder Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the U.S. abstention a “shameless ambush” against the longtime U.S. ally in the region.

Then there are, of course, the past attempts Israel has made to negotiate land for peace with the Palestinians, only to be rebuffed each time in what can only be termed the opposite of peace:

Obama’s approach was historically ignorant. Three times since 2000, Israeli prime ministers have offered land for peace and been rebuffed. Ehud Barak offered up East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank in a plan designed by Bill Clinton, but Yassir Arafat, then Palestinian “president,” walked out of the talks. In 2005, Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and pulled Israel back across the pre-1967 borders. The Palestinians answered by raining missiles on Israel from Gaza. In 2008, Ehud Olmert offered essentially 100 percent of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and a divided Jerusalem to be the capital of both the still non-existent nation of Palestine and Israel. Mahmoud Abbas took the offer to study it and left never returned to the negotiations.

The question is, of course, why now? What was the motivating factor that led President Obama to abstain this time when he has voted to veto these kinds of resolutions in the past, as have his predecessors since the 1967 war that marked the beginning of the dispute in the region.

The American Spectator piece linked above lays out a convincing claim that his failure to block Friday's resolution was payback for Netanyahu's opposition to the Iran deal. "In March 2015, Netanyahu did something Obama never forgave. He addressed a joint session of Congress, at then-Speaker John Boehner’s invitation, forcefully warning against the Iran nuclear deal. Obama made that deal later in the year."

But there may be another reason, an older reason. Obama finally, on his way out of office, made his feelings about Israel crystal clear: he simply favors the Palestinian cause. It's nothing more complicated than that. And he wasn't about to retire as the world's most powerful individual without helping the pet cause he's been hamstrung from doing anything about in the past. The world community would not have looked favorably on his preference for the Palestinian side of the dispute, and Obama wanted to be liked. So he waited.

There was clear evidence that Obama had this preference back in 2008 when the National Review reported that the Los Angeles Times sat on a videotape of Obama offering praise and adoration to one Rashid Khalidi, former associate and spokesman for infamous terrorist and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat. Obama had attended a farewell bash for Khalidi in 2003, along with alleged domestic terrorist and PLO supporter Bill Ayers. National Review wondered at the time why the LA Times allegedly sat on video footage of the party, which is a good question (but easily answered given Obama's need at the time to convince the world that the new U.S. President was a staunch supporter of Israel). Nevertheless, high praise was given to the former terror apologist.

At the time Khalidi, a PLO adviser turned University of Chicago professor, was headed east to Columbia. There he would take over the University’s Middle East-studies program (which he has since maintained as a bubbling cauldron of anti-Semitism) and assume the professorship endowed in honor of Edward Sayyid, another notorious terror apologist.

The party featured encomiums by many of Khalidi’s allies, colleagues, and friends, including Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, and Bill Ayers, the terrorist turned education professor. It was sponsored by the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), which had been founded by Khalidi and his wife, Mona, formerly a top English translator for Arafat’s press agency.

Obama, from the start of what he calls the "privilege of [his] life," had an affinity for the Palestinians over Israel, a carryover from his days in Chicago and the friends and associates he had there.

Now the question becomes: why does Barack Obama choose the plight of the Palestinians over the plight of the Israelis in that region? Perhaps instructive in the search for an answer to that question is National Review's helpful reproduction of what Ayers wrote in "Prairie Fire," the Communist Manifesto of his domestic terrorist group The Weather Underground:

The U.S. people have been seriously deceived about the Palestinians and Israel. This calls for a campaign to educate and focus attention on the true situation: teach-ins, debates, and open clear support for Palestinian liberation; reading about the Palestinian movement—The Disinherited by Fawaz Turki, Enemy of the Sun; opposing U.S. aid to Israel. Our silence or acceptance of pro-zionist policy is a form of complicity with U.S.-backed aggression and terror, and a betrayal of internationalism.

President Barack Obama has simply been sitting on his real feelings about the Israeli/Palestinian debate since his first inauguration. And now, on his way out the door, he's finally letting the world and the country he served know where he stands: internationalism must not be betrayed.

One last thing…
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