Photo: AFP
Obama-Netanyahu meeting. Held after a long process of relieving uncertainties
Photo: AFP
Yoaz Hendel

When Obama and Netanyahu ate from the tree of knowledge

Op-ed: There is nothing random or surprising in the decisions made by the US president since he took office. There are only interests. Like Frank Sinatra, he did it his way, even when the Israelis got in the way.

US President Barack Obama is not anti-Semitic. Far from that: He is friends with many Jews in the United States, and is therefore finding it difficult to understand our interest in a nation state.



He doesn’t hate Israel, but believes that if only Israel wanted to, if only Netanyahu decided, he could have made peace and be remembered in the pages of history. It’s a matter of faith, like Jesus walked on water.


Obama is not a Muslim, he is simply a radical liberal who believes in the good of man and believes everyone can be like that. When he spoke at the beginning of his first term at Cairo University about human rights and Islam as a religion of peace, he meant it wholeheartedly. That is the reason why he sought to contain, to avoid friction, to get closer.


It's not his fault that seven years later, Cairo has undergone a double revolution, hundreds of thousands have been massacred in the name of Islam, and an organization of bloodthirsty people called the Islamic State is beheading and executing (in the recent horrific act) 200 children in order to convey a message.


There is no love affair and there are no major interests Obama and Netanyahu can agree on or fight about. All that remains is the show (Photo: AP)
There is no love affair and there are no major interests Obama and Netanyahu can agree on or fight about. All that remains is the show (Photo: AP)


Obama is not stupid, and neither is Secretary of State John Kerry. They signed the nuclear agreement with the Iranian government after deciding it was time to quit the show. The US had no intention of militarily attacking Iran - not during George W. Bush's days and definitely not during Obama's term. All that was left was to find a ladder to climb down on.


After Afghanistan, Iraq and the historic shadow of the Vietnam War, the Americans have no passion left for major, distant wars. Obama, from his first day in office, after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, had no intention of launching wars.


There is nothing random in the decisions made by Obama since he took office, and there is no surprise either. Like Frank Sinatra, he did it his way even when the Israelis got in the way. And that's the entire difference between Washington and Jerusalem: The coincidence rule.


In Israel, wars develop randomly, senior government workers are appointed in a "bring-a-friend bonus" method, ministers are replaced within 24 hours and government fall surprisingly. If one of the stray rockets which occasionally land in the Negev hits a kindergarten, God forbid, a military operation will break out. If one terror attacks ends with major bloodshed, the strategy will change. Decisions are raised and dropped at the speed of a Facebook post. The unexpected exceeds the expected.


Not in America. Not with Obama. There, it's the other way around: There is nothing random in the agreement with Iran, and there is nothing emotional or hasty in regards to Israel. There are only interests. There have always been only interests.


After seven years in the White House, Monday's meeting between Netanyahu and Obama appeared to be the first in which the two tasted from the tree of knowledge. There is no joy like relieving uncertainties, people here say. Joy is probably not the right word to describe Monday evening's meeting, but it was undoubtedly held after a long process of relieving uncertainties.


If Netanyahu thought the Americans would do Israel's job vis-à-vis Iran, he discovered he was wrong. if he thought the Israeli or Saudi desires in the battle against Iran were important, he discovered that the important thing was the US interests.


Netanyahu isn't fond of Obama, and the American president isn't fond of him. Those are the facts of life. The answers to the questions whose fault is it and who started it are not that important. President Bush was fond of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but in 2007, when Olmert and Mossad chief Meir Dagan came to him with the idea to attack the nuclear reactor in Syria, he sent them to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In other words, he threw them out to figure it out themselves. Affection is not the story in Washington, and neither is mutual animosity.


There are no uncertainties left in regards to the Palestinians either. If Obama thought that Netanyahu was planning a long-term move for peace, he has already realized it won't happen during his term. The rounds of negotiations held with the Palestinians in the past seven years were just as random as the wars with them. Netanyahu says "two states for two people" and stresses that the Palestinian state will be demilitarized, but he is referring to a completely different version than the one Obama means.


The relationship between the two is professional and courteous, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said. In other words, there is no love affair and there are no major interests they can agree on or fight about. All that remains is the show.


פרסום ראשון: 11.11.15, 08:24
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