Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama in Jerusalem

Sen. Obama, the Democratic Presidential candidate, arrived in Jerusalem last night. He is here to court the Jewish vote, a trip that is now mandatory for all presidential candidates. Of course, he is now saying how much he supports Israel, although this is quite a new stance for him. He also condemned the terror attack that took place yesterday just up the street from the King David Hotel where he is staying.
Fortunately, this bulldozer attack was less severe than the first one, the driver was shot sooner and although two parked cars were overturned and several were injured, no-one was killed. As Obama said, Israelis are used to such attacks, but now the Israeli Govt. may be forced to actually take action against the perpetrators, who come from East Jerusalem and have Green cards that allow them to travel anywhere in Israel. No retaliatory action was taken in the past two incidents and so there is no reprisal cost to them for carrying out these attacks. The police are now supposed to check all building sites in Jerusalem, but no decision has been made reagarding the destruction of the houses of these terrorists.
Today Obama will do a lightning tour of Israel by helicopter, with FM Livni and DM Barak, and he will meet Pres. Peres and PM Olmert. Then he will give a press conference tonite, where he will clarify his clarification of his backtrack on Jeruslaem. At the AIPAC conference he supported a unified Jerusalem unequivocally, but later he said that Jerusalem could be divided in order to satisfy the needs of the Palestinians. Of course, his advisors, Stanley Ross (a former advisor to Pres. Clinton) and former US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurzer, are well known to Israelis, and are not totally trusted. They are the kind of "friends" who will tell us what is best for us, as if they know better than we do.
In his talks, the threat of Iran will loom large and will be brought up several times. Obama has said that he is willing to meet and negotiate with the leader of Iran. As far as most Israelis are concerned that would be a dangerous and naieve move, giving credibility to a profoundly anti-Western regime. Whether or not Obama learns something on this "learning" trip, nothing can replace actual foreign policy experience, of which he has none. Nevertheless, several other presidents have started out with this disadvantage, including Carter, Clinton and Bush! Perhaps for a change we need a President who has some real experience before he comes into office.


Post a Comment

<< Home