Examiner Editorial: No impartiality between Israel, Palestinians 

It’s unfortunate that President Barack Obama kept reporters out of his meeting at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A closed meeting almost always suggests a serious rift.

In this case, it’s another indication that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are veering off the “road to peace” in the Middle East. Clinton told American supporters of Israel on Monday that “our credibility in this process depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous, and when we don’t agree, to say so, and say so unequivocally.”

This moral equivalence might be appropriate if she were refereeing a schoolyard brawl. The stakes for Israel in the Mideast conflict, however, are nothing less than national survival. For its part, the U.S. has a vital interest in maintaining a critically important strategic alliance.

Trouble is, the scales tip against Israel any time the U.S. proclaims its determination to judge impartially between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. What Obama and Clinton seem to not understand is that concessions by Israel frequently represent a diminution of its ability to defend itself against enemies that have declared their determination to destroy the Jewish state.

Israel is a nation of extraordinarily courageous people, but it’s also a tiny country. As Netanyahu said Monday, “Iran’s rulers say, ‘Israel is a one-bomb country.’”

The apartments in East Jerusalem that gave rise to the present tensions are within a five-minute drive from the Israeli Knesset. Imagine San Francisco leaders being told they cannot build homes for their people on the Peninsula.

So when Clinton pressures Netanyahu to stop building in areas of the Jewish national capital because “new construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need,” she is effectively putting America on the side of Israel’s enemies. The U.S. needs to squarely face extremists like Hezbollah, whose leader, Hassan Nazrallah, recently said that “if all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority differ only on how to get to the final holocaust of the Jews, not whether they should be exterminated.

For the U.S., there can be no impartial choice between a democratic nation that strongly supports America and the butchers who cannot wait to spill more Jewish blood.

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Michael Daboll

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