Day: May 30, 2011

Is Obama Changing US Policy Toward Israel From What It Was Under Earlier Presidents? NO!

There has been a divided response to President Obama’s proposal that Israel and the Palestinians come to an agreement to return to the pre 1967 War boundary lines, but with agreed upon “land swaps” to create viable, contiguous boundaries for both Israel and a Palestinian state.

Many major Jewish organizations, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, criticized the statement, with Netanyahu doing so eyeball to eyeball in the Oval Office before cameras, and also in a speech to a joint session of Congress, allowing the Republicans in Congress to attack the President’s stand.

Of course, it was all politics on the part of Netanyahu to keep the control of his unstable coalition government in Israel, and also politics on the part of the Republicans, who are so used to lies and deception on a regular basis!

The fact is that earlier Prime Ministers of Israel, including Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, had understood what Obama said, and George W. Bush had made the same statement a few times during his Presidency, along with Bill Clinton in his last year in the White House!

The understanding was clear to those who wished to notice, that Obama was NOT calling upon Israel to give up stable boundaries, and therefore the statement about “land swaps”, which is very different from the unstable situation before the 1967 war.

Also, Obama understood the need for Arab recognition of Israel, and that Israel could not deal with a terrorist government of Hamas as part of a Palestinian negotiating team, and that the US would be against recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations until the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist!

Obama was not demanding any territorial concessions, unless agreed to by the participants in the negotiation, and it is clear that division of Jerusalem, or return of the Golan Heights is unlikely.

But Israel trying to continue to have control of heavily Palestinian territories in the West Bank would be a long term nightmare, and as long as areas of Jewish settlement are secure in Israeli hands, the argument is that Israel is fighting a losing demographic battle with the Palestinians, and should not want occupation of areas that are hard to govern, so should wish for peace, as long as they have a willing partner, which right now seems highly unlikely, in any case.

All that Obama is trying to accomplish is the movement forward in negotiations, but with understanding that there is no quick or easy fix likely at any time in the future!

The Disgraceful Treatment Of Our Veterans Recalled On The Day We Memorialize Their Sacrifices!

Today is Memorial Day, when we honor the sacrifices of our veterans in all of our wars and military engagements, and there is not any way to fully repay these heroes who have kept us free, and preserved our democracy and way of life!

But in the midst of honoring them, the facts are clear: We talk up a great storm of praise for our military warriors, but do not treat them properly once they return home!

We have lost about 1,700 in Afghanistan, and about 4,400 in Iraq, who made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving behind bereaved wives, children, parents, siblings, and friends, who will never be the same after the loss of their loved ones.

But we also have about 35,000 veterans of the recent engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have in many cases been severely injured, losing limbs and often part of their skulls, and have a tough time adjusting to their handicaps.

But also, we have many veterans who have emotional and mental problems caused by their combat experiences, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and have difficulty coping with every day civilian life as a result. We also have 156 veterans who have committed suicide in the past year, as well as 5 percent of all veterans being homeless, and an unemployment rate among veterans of 27 percent!

More needs to be done regarding education, health care, housing, and personal intervention by trained personnel who can help veterans in emotional trouble, and we cannot allow budget matters to interfere, as long as we continue to fund defense industries with projects often full of waste, fraud and abuse!

Human needs must be paramount in respect of the contributions that our veterans have given to this nation!