Gingrich: 'Obama endangering Israel'

Before AIPAC address, ex-House speaker tells 'Post' US policies on Iran and the Palestinians are "weak."

newt gingrich 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
newt gingrich 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Former US House speaker Newt Gingrich on Sunday blasted the Obama administration for setting itself on a collision course with Israel and endangering the Jewish state, ahead of his address that day to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. "They are systematically setting up the most decisive confrontation that we've ever seen," the leading Republican politician told The Jerusalem Post, referring to news reports about the administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "There's almost an eagerness to take on the Israeli government to make a point with the Arab world," he said. He called US President Barack Obama's program of engagement on Iran a "fantasy," and his Middle East policies "very dangerous for Israel." He summed up Obama's approach as "the clearest adoption of weakness since Jimmy Carter." Instead, he maintained, the US should be sending the message to Israel that "we are for the survival of Israel" and that "we are not going to tolerate Iran getting nuclear weapons." He added that creating prosperity among Palestinians was important, and that the US should be helping their leaders grow their society and crowd out Hamas. The Obama administration has been trying to support the Fatah party as it shuns Hamas, and is looking to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians in part to accomplish that end. The US government has also been focusing on engaging Iran to try to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, holding out the possibility of more economic sanctions should the diplomatic process fail. Gingrich is touted as a possible Republican candidate in the next presidential campaign and has re-established himself as a top leader in the Republican party as the GOP struggles to redefine its identity and appeal to voters after electoral losses in the fall. Major Democratic figures, including US Vice President Joe Biden, will be addressing the conference this week.