Tuesday, November 17, 2009

President Obama’s Third Mantra

Those who habitually read newspapers or listen to broadcast news know that President Obama had until now two mantras in his mind. His first mantra: “Our support of Israel to live in security is unshakable”, has been heard around the world, loudly and clearly, dozens of times.

His second mantra: “The bond between Israel and USA is unbreakable”, also has been heard around the world on many occasions. He chanted it even at the Cairo University in Egypt. “America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable.” These two mantras and some minor variants of the mantras have been chanted just like mantras, repeatedly, by Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton, and Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell every time they found an opportunity to chant them.

To those who are dismayed and bored with President Obama’s two mantras, I have some good news. Rejoice! President Obama has found a new mantra, his third, and has added it to his list. The new mantra is: “We are dismayed that Israelis are expanding the settlements”.

The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority “strongly condemns” the decision to build 900 housing units in Gilo, in East Jerusalem. In contrast, the Obama administration issued a statement that the administration was “dismayed” and asked both parties to avoid unilateral actions that could “pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations.” I think his administration is sleeping; doesn’t it know that the peace process is dead and gone?

I am dismayed that The New York Times wrote that: “The news that the building plans had moved closer to approval drew a sharp response from the White House, which has declared reviving the talks to be a major policy goal.” And what was White House’s sharp response? The statement – Obama’s third mantra – that “We are dismayed that Israelis are expanding the settlements”. Here is a country that defies international laws, a country that it supports unconditionally with financial and military aid, and a country that it protects from international condemnations at the UN Security Council, and all that the Obama administration can do is express its “dismay” at Israel’s disregard for international laws?

These settlements are not only illegal per international laws, and against UN resolutions, they are opposed by almost the entire world except the USA. Yes, Obama’s administration has in the past stated that “We do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories”; but these are hollow words, not backed up with actions, actions such as ending economic and military aid to an aggressor and oppressor, and an international bully. President Obama has continued to send blank checks to Israel, and on time. It’s high time that the Nobel Peace committee stopped deluding itself that President Obama is a man of peace. I am aware that it is quite unlikely that the committee would withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize already given; but it is never too late to issue a statement expressing its regrets.

Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ

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