Confidence, hope, and stability

The US administration's policy in the Middle East reflects a deep misunderstanding of the powers at play.

President Shimon Peres with US President Barack Obama at the White House (photo credit: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT)
President Shimon Peres with US President Barack Obama at the White House
At a press conference held on 6 August 2014, after the US-Africa Leaders Summit, President Obama answered a question about the odds of prolonging the cease-fire and the role the US should play in the talks going on in Cairo.
Before I analyze the President's comments, I must state that the US-Israeli relationship is a valuable asset to the State of Israel, and vital for Israel's defense.
I believe that Obama and Kerry truly support Israel. It is a fact that defense support under the current administration is the best it has ever been.
I feel a deep sense of gratitude towards the US and the administration for all their support and "having our back," as Obama says, both physically and in the diplomatic arena.
Still, I believe that this administration's policy in the Middle East reflects a deep misunderstanding of the
powers at play. It emboldens the radicals, weakens the moderates, and leads to instability and even chaos.
The strongest language used by the President to describe Hamas was that they "act extraordinarily irresponsibly" and that he has "no sympathy" for them. He also described rocket launches as "terror attacks."
As usual, the issue of civilian casualties was addressed after a break - "Now, having said all that" – making it sound as if the rockets were Hamas' fault, while the civilian casualties where only a result of Israeli actions.
Instead he should have said that the terrorists are responsible for all civilian deaths having initiated the attack and repeatedly violating ceasefires. In fact many Gazans died not only because they were deliberately placed by Hamas in the line of Israeli fire, but due to self inflicted strikes of misfired rockets, booby-trapped houses, internal executions etc.
What the President said in fact plays into the hands of Hamas and supports their leading strategy of victimhood. 
How does the President propose we "move forward in a sustainable way?"
The short-term goal is that "rocket launches do not resume," and that "closing off these tunnels has been completed."
So far so good.
But relating to the long term, the President said that Gaza cannot be "permanently closed off from the world."
Wait a minute – it certainly should be closed off if Iran declared that they are rearming Hamas, and Hamas still says they're going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Under these circumstances, Egypt and Israel should tighten security, not open the borders.
The President should have explained that everyone, including Israel, wants to open the borders and reach normalcy, but only disarming will advance this goal.
Obama spoke of "providing some opportunity" for the population that lives in Gaza.
The problem is that Hamas doesn't want stability and economic growth. All this talk of the need for lifting the "siege" is a lie, because if they wanted economic growth, all they needed to do was stop launching rockets and use the millions of dollars allocated by the international community for growth instead of weapons and tunnels.
What Hamas seeks is perpetuating instability and conflict in order to sustain their "resistance" posture and promote their goal of annihilating Israel.
Obama said that we need to "find a formula in which Israel has greater assurance that Gaza will not be a launching pad for further attacks."
Very good! This sounds like the right direction. But instead of explaining that this means disarming the terrorists, he used his usual break – "But at the same time" – and explained that Palestinians should be able to pursue "basic prosperity."
So are we to understand that if Hamas feels prosperity, Israel will get security?
Again, Obama missed the point. Hamas leaders do not want prosperity. This is western thinking. It is not what goes on inside the minds of Islamic terrorists.
Obama should have simply said: "If you guys want prosperity like you claim you do, you're going to have to give up the rockets!"
He went on to say that his formula for stability is "a slow rebuilding of trust."
What trust? Is the US building trust with ISIS or Al-Qaida?
Of course we need to build trust with the Palestinian people, but not with a terror entity which wants us all dead.
Obama says that the US wants to "make sure that the cease-fire holds," so that "Gaza can begin the process of rebuilding."
Without demilitarization, the only rebuilding will be of tunnels and rocket capabilities.
Obama wants the people of Gaza to "feel some sense of hope."
But what hope can they have under the ruthless rule of terrorists? The poor people of Gaza are being oppressed by a barbaric regime. The US keeps talking as if Hamas represents the Palestinians and this was all part of their struggle for independence.
This is a serious mistake.
The President also kindly expresses his wish that Israelis will not have to go through another round of rockets.
But with an armed Hamas still controlling Gaza, vowing to destroy Israel, teaching their children to kills the Jews, and doing all this under the wing of UN institutions – another round of violence is around the corner.
Without disarming Hamas, the people of Gaza are going to suffer again very soon. It's the last thing Israel wants, of course, and again we will feel for the innocent civilians who are sacrificed by Hamas.
Obama said that his administration is working diligently to move the process forward. I beg to differ, and claim that if they don't forcefully promote demilitarization – they are dooming the region to more violence, and will bear much responsibility for it.
Obama talks of the Palestinian people's confidence and sense of hope. What about our confidence and sense of hope? Not only do we have to defend ourselves from a brutal terror organization, we also have to fight off ignorance, hypocrisy, double standards and anti-Semitism.
This was an analysis of one statement by the President, but it reflects a steady tone coming out of the White House and the State Department.
It is a passive, weak, and fake "neutral" position, acknowledging Israel's right to self defense, while "balancing" it by falsely accusing Israel of "not doing enough" to protect civilians. The US also irresponsibly jumps to conclusions and adopts Hamas' false reports, leading to strong condemnations for things that never happened.
But the saddest thing is the complete misunderstanding and misrepresenting of the forces at play. Hamas is addressed as a legitimate "party" representing Palestinian grievances, and is evaluated using "western" values. This is buying into Hamas' deception as if they care about the prosperity of Gaza.
They say that they want us all dead, and that they don't care if their own children die. They fulfill this by trying to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible and killing as many Palestinian civilians as possible.
Easing of border supervision will not change that. Not even an airport.
The only way to achieve stability is an internationally imposed, and strictly enforced, demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. This is not siding with Israel. All those who care for the people of Gaza, should do all they can to save them from Hamas.
The writer is a former pilot in the Israeli Air Force and founder of Cross-Cultural Strategies Ltd.