If the mark of a good compromise is both sides walking away feeling
shortchanged, then President Obama's compromise between American critics
and defenders of Israel's flotilla raid has been a success. Neither the
pro-Israeli advocates of the Gaza blockade nor those who champion the
Palestinian cause have been very happy with the U.S. response. To be
fair, the majority of U.S. Israel defenders have also been critical of
Israel's handling of the flotilla. But how should we judge the U.S.
- Can Obama Bring End to Gaza Blockade? The
Israel government is hinting it may be considering an end to the
controversial blockade. The New York Times' Isabel
Kershner credits President Obama. "The government’s new flexibility
follows a week of unrelenting international outrage over Israel’s
commando raid on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists, which left
nine dead, and reports that senior officials in the Obama administration
were calling for a 'new approach' in Gaza and had concluded that the
blockade was untenable. President Obama added to the pressure on Israel
in an interview with Larry King that was broadcast Thursday night. While
declining to condemn the raid, he said, 'What’s important right now is
that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an
opportunity so that we figure out how we meet Israel’s security
concerns, but at the same time start opening up opportunity for
- 'Too Little, Too Late' Foreign Policy's Marc Lynch sees Obama hedging. "Still think Obama admin will push to ease Gaza
siege in aftermath of flotilla debacle, maybe too little + late but
would be right move." Lynch notes that, exactly one year after
Obama's historic speech in Cairo reaching out to the Muslim world, his
defense of Israel is the top story. "Cairo speech
anniversary almost unmentioned in Arab press today except a few notes on
unfulfilled promises + Gaza flotilla. Sad."
- U.S. Inaction
Enables Israel Critics The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer writes,
"The world is outraged at Israel's blockade of Gaza. Turkey denounces
its illegality, inhumanity, barbarity, etc. The usual U.N. suspects,
Third World and European, join in. The Obama administration dithers."
Krauthammer suggests that this makes the U.S. complicit in what he
implies could become another holocaust. "The world is tired of these
troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the
Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which
they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from
defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists --
Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution."
Support for Obama Disappearing McClatchy's Miret el Naggar and Margaret Talev write, "many Muslims in Egypt and the rest of the
Middle East say they're dismayed that the promise of the speech has
fizzled into U.S. policy-as-usual toward the region: civilian deaths in
Afghanistan, an unstable Iraq, no pressure for reforms on
Washington-friendly autocrats, no resolution for Guantanamo prisoners
and no end in sight for the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israel's deadly
raid in international waters on an aid flotilla en route to break the
siege on Gaza - and Obama's tepid response, in comparison to the
condemnation of other world leaders - cemented perceptions for many of
unconditional U.S. support for Israel. Some Arab commentators and
bloggers said Obama no longer deserves his Nobel Peace Prize."
'Animus' Towards Israel Powerline's Scott Johnson seethes,
"Perhaps the most transparent element of Obama administration foreign
policy is its animus against Israel. She is an inconvenient former
- U.S. Pushed Away by Israel The New Republic's Leon Wieseltier writes,
"It is hard not to conclude from this Israeli action, and also from
other Israeli actions in recent years, that the Israeli leadership
simply does not care any longer about what anybody thinks. It does not
seem to care about what even the United States—its only real friend,
even in the choppy era of Obama—thinks."
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