US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s brain cell has gone missing.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has urged Israel to “mend fences” with Turkey, Egypt and others in the Middle East to reduce its growing isolation…
“Unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow, and the pursuit of a comprehensive Middle East peace plan has effectively been put on hold,” he said.
Israel’s concern over the Arab Spring revolts that have toppled several long-term authoritarian leaders in the region, including in peace partner Egypt, was understandable, he added.
But the changes in leadership offered an opportunity for Israel to improve regional security.
“For example, Israel can reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional security, countries like Turkey and Egypt, as well as Jordan,” he said.
“And if the gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are.”
Mr Panetta apparently lives in some sort of parallel universe where Recep Erdogan has not attempted to curry favour with Iran by undermining formal relations with Israel and repeatedly denouncing it in Turkey and in international forums, and where the ‘Arab Spring’ has lead to the establishment of open and reasonable governments.
In the real world, Jordan continues to distance itself from Israel, the parties which called for death to all Jews are the ones who have won government in Egypt, Turkey is turning into another Iran, and revolutions in other islamic nations like Libya are leading their countries deeper into rabid islamism and anti-semitism.
For their leaders, the imagined perfidy of Israel and all Jews is a convenient excuse for their own failings. For their people, islamic hatred for Jews has its origin in the life and teachings of Muhammed.
The UN will not see further concessions by Israel as positive. It has never done so in the past, despite the fact that those concessions have been made at massive cost, both financial and to Israel’s national security.
Just as there are no limits to hypocrisy, there are no limits to a bully’s demands. The UN and the Arab nations will never be satisfied until Israel is gone. They keep saying so.
Contrary to Mr Panetta’s inane and anodyne advice, Israel must continue to do what it has done under Netanyahu. It must be ready to engage in genuine diplomacy, and willing to offer friendship.
But bullies will not stop until they are made to stop, and those who stop them, often at great risk to themselves, do the rest of us a great favour. Israel must not allow itself to be bullied, whether by the US, or by Egypt, Jordan or Turkey.
If Mr Panetta wants to have anything useful to offer, he needs to find his brain cell.
Update: Barry Rubin at PJ Media agrees:
There are three other major questions raised in Panetta’s statement.
First, does the current “Arab Awakening” imperil Israel? Yes, of course it does. By changing a reasonably friendly Egyptian government into a totally hostile Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi dominated political system closely allied with Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s ruler, and by helping establish Islamist regimes in Tunisia and Libya allied with this Muslim Brotherhood International; the changes create a four-member alliance intent on wiping Israel off the map.
Add to that Islamist domination of Lebanon by Hizballah, an Islamist regime in Turkey, and the continuing threat from Iran and you’ve got quite a regional situation.
Second, and more interestingly, why is the above true?
The answer is as follows:
•Democracy in theory is admirable but when you have masses imbued with very radical views, strong Islamist movements, and weak moderate ones, the election winners will be extremely radical Islamists. By winning massive victories, facing a weak (even sympathetic) United States, and seeing even mor extreme forces becoming so popular (the Salafists in Egypt) the Islamists are emboldened to be even more radical in their behavior. Who’s going to stop them?
•We are thus not facing a springtime of democracy but a springtime of extremism.
•The Islamists don’t want peace with Israel on any terms. They want its destruction. They will not be dissuaded by a peace agreement. They will do anything possible–starting with demagoguery and ending with terrorism or even war–to block such a diplomatic solution. How can Israeli action reconcile those who don’t want peace?
As of now, the following are governed or will soon be governed by Islamists who want Israel’s destruction and genocide against the Jews there: Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The following are governed by those who want peace with Israel: Jordan.
•Not only is the United States not opposing this development it is supporting it. In other words, U.S. policy is intensifying the threat to Israel, not helping Israel.
Third, why are there no negotiations? As the history of the issue since January 2009 shows, it is the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate with Israel. If Panetta and the Obama Administration were either wise or honest they would acknowledge this fact. Instead, they blame Israel. Once again, U.S. policy is intensifying the threat to Israel, not helping Israel.
From Pat Condell: