Obama’s dubious Mideast bet

Tony Karon writes:

In the grand poker game of Middle East peacemaking, everyone around the table is wondering just what cards President Barack Obama is holding. That’s because the President has placed a potentially ruinous bet on what can be achieved over the 90 days of the partial settlement freeze he appears to have persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept — in exchange for an extra $3 billion worth of advanced F-35 fighter aircraft. That is over and above the annual $2.75 billion military subsidy Israel receives from Washington. In addition, the Obama Administration has promised to run interference for Israel against any attempt to bring international law into play to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via the U.N. But Obama is gambling with a lot more than $3 billion that the two sides can agree on borders between Israel and a Palestinian state within three months.

Netanyahu still has to convince his entire Cabinet to embrace the deal, and he’ll get some pushback from within his own party and among settlers furious about a new building slowdown (although the Israeli group Peace Now, which strongly opposes settlements, noted last week that over the six weeks since the last moratorium expired, settlers have started to work on pretty much the same number of housing units as they would have built over the 10 months it covered). The Palestinians, for their part, insist that they won’t return to negotiations until Israel completely halts building on occupied land, including in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu, however, is adamant that his construction freeze won’t apply to settlements in East Jerusalem, which he doesn’t deem to be settlements — although the international community does, having never recognized Israel’s annexation of those parts of the Holy City captured in the 1967 war.

But even if the deal manages to get talks restarted, the real gamble Obama has taken is giving the two sides just 90 days to agree on where to draw the final borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.

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6 thoughts on “Obama’s dubious Mideast bet

  1. Renfro

    “Obama has taken is giving the two sides just 90 days to agree on where to draw the final borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.”

    Or what?….if they don’t? …..give them another 3 billion for another 90 option.

    Gawd almighty..just beam me up Scotty.

  2. Joseph Elias

    President Obama provided a “cover” for the equipping Israel with advanced weapons for its upcoming war with Lebanon and Syria, and the means to attack Iran. The last time an American president stood up to Israel Eisenhower was in office. It amazes me that we have any friends in the area. But, I do understand why so many hate us.

  3. Christopher Hoare

    If Americans don’t wake up and take to the streets to protest this farce and the give aways that mean an increase in the threats to peace in the region, this downward spiral in courage, intelligence and honour will continue. It’ll be a cold day in Hell when that happens. Who would have the gumption to pick on the solution to problems instead of maintaining them for their personal gain?

    How lower can Uncle Sam go? Just watch.

  4. Dieter Heymann, Houston, USA

    Correct me please if I am wrong. I hold that the annual $2.75 billion military subsidy to Israel has been approved by congressional vote and presidential signing.
    The 3 billion giveaway of military hardware was paid with tax money. Does President Obama have the authority for this giveaway without congressional approval?

  5. Norman

    Presumably so, if the P.O.T.U.S. can continue to War on other countries without the Congress giving approval, then he has the power to sell this country & the rest of the Middle Eastern Countries out at the same time. It’s my opinion that there should be an experienced Military Officer in the post, instead of a novice Civilian.

  6. scott

    From Winslow Wheeler, “The F-111 program produced one-third the number of planes planned at over five times the unit cost: 1,706 were planned at $2.9 million unit cost–in contrast to an actual 541 built at $15.1 million each, in 1960’s dollars. The F-35 was originally sold on the basis of buying 2,866 US planes at $28 to $38 million each in contemporary dollars. Those promises are long gone; as we now know, the current official estimate is for a unit cost of $132 million each, soon to go up to $158 million each.

    That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. With 97 percent of flight testing still unflown, we are certainly facing billions of dollars more in major rework to correct flight test problems sure to be found throughout the airframe, engine, electronics and software. Then, because the flight test program is designed to explore only 17 percent of the F-35’s flight characteristics, still more problems are sure to be found after the aircraft is deployed – at the potential expense of pilot lives and, of course, lots more money. In the end, expect F-35 unit cost to exceed $200 million, or more. ”

    20 planes at $200M/plane is $4billion.

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