Saturday, 1 August 2009
Two-Faces of Barack Obama
Politicians rarely make unequivocal statements, because it gives them the option to alter their position with the change of circumstances. They find it difficult to express clear statements and make firm commitments. Are politicians two-faced by their very nature or perhaps they are compelled to be two-faced due to the system in place. In a democracy, politicians hunt for votes from various parties, often with conflicting interests. Thus, they need to appease various factions, sounding sweet enough to win the votes.
In the rare occasion when a politician makes an unequivocal statement, at some point it is clarified. Addressing AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference in 2008, Obama as the Presidential candidate made the unequivocal statement with regards to the status of Jerusalem:
"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided"
The clear implication is, Israel will have full sovereignty over the area, and there is no going back to the 1967 borders in line with the various UN resolutions issued. Of course, this is Israel not Iraq! It is the helpless Jews; the perpetual victims of anti-Semitism who are always in need to be defended from the Arab terrorists as recently seen in the carnage of Gaza!
Obama sounded as if he was handing over the keys of Jerusalem to the Rabbis. Such a statement would leave little to offer to the Arabs. Hence, Obama’s campaign adviser subsequently clarified the statement, and stated:
"Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties"1
How can the capital of a state be subjected to negotiation? If the negotiation is about sovereignty of the Arabs and Jews, then the reference to undivided capital is false. In line with the two-faced nature of a typical politician, at the Cairo speech Obama said Israel has to implement an immediate and comprehensive settlement freeze. How can Jerusalem be the undivided capital of Israel, if the Israeli Jews cannot occupy parts of it? Obama was either lying at the AIPAC conference or at the Cairo conference!
The issue of freezing Israeli settlement in West Bank was already understood to be a unilateral obligation as per the UN resolutions. This was reinforced by the Cairo statement. However, once again, two-faced nature of Barack Obama surfaces, now the Israeli settlement freeze has a price, which is some sort of concession from the Arab countries .
It is odd that the weaker party in this case, the Palestinians have to initiate the move by offering concession. However, I guess generosity is more often seen as an Arab trait, whereas being miserly is seen as a Jewish trait!
The ping-pong game of who should give what as a starting point continues, there is no sign of any just solution. In the mean time, Israel as the stronger party continues to create new realities on the ground that moves the goal post of discussion. The international community are helpless, all they can do is ‘object’ – are they trembling with fears of being accused of anti-Semitism.
The old Native American saying: white man speaks with two tongues, applying that principle just replace the white man for any politician, black or white, Condoleezza Rice or Dick Cheney, George Bush or Barack Obama, makes no difference. Politicians are dirty, they are two-faced, and no peaceful solution based on justice is likely to emanate from them.
For sure, peace cannot exist without justice, the only alternative being the elimination of one of the conflicting parties. Since justice is unlikely then think of annihilation of one of the parties as the only solution for peace, think of the Palestinian Diaspora, the concentration camp of Gaza, the prisons in West Bank, and the slow holocaust that began from 1948 and continues. This explains the undeclared official Israeli policy of targeting Palestinian children and mothers.
Yamin Zakaria (email@example.com)