On Tuesday, hundreds of Arabs throughout Jerusalem burned tires and threw rocks at border guards. An Israeli policeman was shot in East Jerusalem. What do we hear from the Obama administration? Silence. This is the Obama Intifada. It is he who has suggested that the Palestinian Arabs have legitimate grievances, that Israel is the victimizer, and that the United States will stand aside and allow violent atrocities by Arabs to go forward without comment. He wants this Intifada, and he's got it.Precipitating a crisis always creates risks. The Administration may have wanted a measure of "regime change" or reshuffling of the Israeli cabinet to bring Kadima into the governing coalition. If that was the case, they failed:
The Obama Intifada will serve a dual purpose: it will knock health care off the front pages, and it will provide a "crisis" for Obama to solve. If a few Jews get killed, Obama doesn't truly care. What's a few eggs if you're frying up a socialized health care omelet? What's a few Jews if you can win another Nobel Peace Prize?
The popular assumption is that Obama is seeking to prove his resolve as a leader by getting tough with Israel. Given his ineffectiveness against Iran and his tendency to violate his own self-imposed deadlines for sanctions, the Israeli public is not likely to be impressed. Indeed, Israelis' initial anger at Netanyahu has turned to anger against Obama. According to an Israel Radio poll on March 16, 62 percent of Israelis blame the Obama administration for the crisis, while 20 percent blame Netanyahu. (Another 17 percent blame Shas leader Eli Yishai.)Perhaps the Administration considered some side benefits of distracting the media, and a wary public, from an upcoming, unpopular vote on transforming American healthcare. Whatever their intentions, what they've done instead is give the Arabs a blank check to kill Jews.
From the perspective of Hamas and the no less violent, if more politically astute mainstream of Fatah, all they're doing is putting into action, on the streets, American's radical policy of rejecting Jewish rights to build in Jerusalem. Yes, history has shown that Palestinians - the ones that count, with the guns - will generally kill Jews if given a convenient opportunity, but there is something more here we should consider.
The Palestinians will change nothing by killing a few Jews in Jerusalem. Drawing Israel into a bloody confrontation, however, and reaping the political rewards of a "disproportionate" Israel response, as we've seen in the past, can change everything.
This is the lesson each act of Palestinian terrorism and war over the last 50 years has taught us: Every defense of Jewish life has come at a political cost for the State of Israel. Moreover, this cost is exacted by Israel's "friends", not its enemies. Obama has given the Palestinians cover to reap a political reward from violence and murder and, contrary to popular conception, they have no intentions of letting a golden opportunity slip past them.
Hope and change, meet world.