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Press Release - White House Middle East Priorities out of Sync with Regional Realities

White House Middle East Priorities out of Sync with Regional Realities, Wide Gap between Obama and Israel on Security Issues

May 19, 2011 06:08 PM EDT

WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--President Obama’s attempt today to link the stalled Palestinian-Israel negotiations to social and economic progress in the Arab world will unnecessarily increase tensions between Washington and Jerusalem, said JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann. Furthermore, Neumann said, it is a distraction from continued work needed to strengthen the international isolation of Iran and to fight against radical Islamism, in which Israel is a vital partner.

In his highly anticipated speech on the Middle East, the President appeared to single out Israel for blame for the moribund state of peace talks when he remarked that “Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks.” There was no mention of ongoing Palestinian terror attacks and Palestinian Authority incitement to violence against Israel.

The President continued: “At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.” His point was clear, progress across the Middle East rests on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Neumann said that the President “did not make a credible case for linking major regional events to the Palestinian-Israel conflict including the active civil war in Libya, falling regimes in several Arab countries and continued Iranian support for Hezbollah and Hamas and Iran’s own rogue nuclear weapons program.”

Furthermore, the President’s stated support for the creation of a Palestinian state based upon the 1967 lines threatens Israeli security as it was not directly coupled with Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s right to exist and a cessation of terrorist incitement.

Moreover, it is contradictory for the President to announce that “Israel must be able to defend itself - by itself - against any threat” without acknowledging Israel’s stated position of maintaining control of the Jordan Valley for security reasons.

The President pointedly ignored Hamas’ role in attacks upon Americans when he stated that, “the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel [emphasis added].” There can be no doubt that it will, but the President appeared to ignore the fact the U.S. State Department, the very venue from which he delivered the speech, also lists Hamas as a terrorist group.

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