As we have mentioned before, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas could have requested virtually any concession from Prime Minister Netanyahu and the State of Israel and partially due to excessive pressure from United States President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry been granted virtually any demand. The proof is the fact that Israel will have released over one-hundred terrorists the majority of which were serving sentences for multiple murders. Chairman Abbas was informed when he chose the terrorist be released that Israel intended to build in the communities east of the green line, particularly in those neighborhoods which were most likely to remain as part of Israel through land swaps. Abbas accepted this reality for about thirty seconds and then began demanding that the Israelis also concede and pronounce their granting of a complete building freeze including even in Jerusalem. Chairman Abbas is now threatening to walk out of the negotiations before even considering the United States Secretary of State Kerry’s proposal if Prime Minister Netanyahu does not announce and implement a building freeze. Should Mahmoud Abbas prove true to form, as soon as he finally persuades President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to pressure Israel and twist the arm of Netanyahu threatening whatever proves necessary to force him to grant the demand for a building freeze; he will soon thereafter demand yet another concession, as the sole reason he ever negotiates, to gain concessions and then walk when he figures he cannot get any additional concessions. This usually is accomplished in a way that Abbas can claim that the intractable Israelis refusal to be reasonable and meet their obligations caused him to walk away from the negotiations. This is accomplished usually by demanding Israel promise their intent to accept a full right of return of five to six million descendants of refugees, a concession that would end Israel as the state that serves as home for the Jewish people.
It would not be all that surprising if during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent visit to the White House that President Obama laid the initial groundwork for demanding that Israel enact the building freeze that Abbas is whining and demanding with more pressures sure to follow. What was disturbing was the casual misuse and misinterpretation of a variation of one of the most famous quotes from the revered Rabbi Hillel. Obama’s remarks came in the interview last week with Jeffrey Goldberg where President Obama stated, “When I have a conversation with Bibi (Netanyahu), that’s the essence of my conversation. If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who? How does this get resolved?” This misrepresentation implies that Rabbi Hillel was inferring that the Jewish people make concessions and surrender before their enemies, the exact opposite of the meaning of the actual quote. What Rabbi Hillel actually stated was, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” As is obvious the first intent is the obligation of a person to defend and care for their needs but not exclusively as the care of one’s brother is also a requirement in Judaism and finally the intent that such actions should not wait. This agrees with President Obama’s misrepresentation in one area, the need for immediacy. This is far from the first time that President Obama has misquoted a famous person turning their actual intent and statement on its head simply to serve his ends and appear to sound well educated and familiar with other cultures and philosophies. If anything, President Obama reminds me of Alfalfa from the television show Our Gang where he would regularly use long and impressive vocabulary but always errantly almost always using a word which sounded similar to the actual word he might have intended. Such a resemblance does not reflect well on President Obama but is also unfortunately valid, especially in this particular instance. President Obama was fortunate that Prime Minister Netanyahu had, by all appearances, decided before meeting President Obama not to react or try to match absurdity with indignance but instead allowed President Obama to state his points, lecture and talk down and show the normal disrespect which often seeps into his exhortations and then simply depart in silence and refuse to comment one way or another and simply continue with the primary reason for the Prime Minister’s trip, his addressing of the AIPAC Convention.
As a result of the meeting between the two leaders, expect no manner of progress and one may ignore the promise granted by the President to the Israeli Prime Minister to pressure Mahmoud Abbas as hard to force him to make any sacrifice or concession to match the seemingly unending string of unrequited concessions given up by the Israelis over the past twenty plus years starting with the Oslo Accords. That is highly unlikely as the very first person called by President Obama from the Oval Office after his first inauguration before any other Chief of State was Mahmoud Abbas. Such respect and favor is not given to one you plan to pressure and President Obama will not utter anything short of praise and sworn agreement with Abbas. My prayers and hopes is that we will never have the opportunity or situation for Mahmoud Abbas to demand and whine about what else Israel must give up otherwise he will fulfill the threat to walk out on the negotiations, blame Israel to every media outlet that will print his rant unedited and with only respectful commentary followed by touring Europe and other friendly climes ending up at the United Nations for the opening ceremonies of the General Assembly once more demanding the world body grant him his state and enlist the armies of all the upright and honorable nations of the world to make war on Israel forcing them to capitulate. It might not be so boring and painful if Abbas was not so damned predictable.