Last week, the Washington Post reported that the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu planned to tell the US that they would not work on Palestinian issues until the US dealt with the threat from Iran. Israel later denied it, but I wrote that Netanyahu at least had the cause/symptom relationship correct, and that this administration would likely get it backward. The next day, Hillary Clinton confirmed it:
Aides to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said this week that the Israeli government will not move ahead on the core issues of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limit Tehran’s rising influence in the region. Netanyahu, who is skeptical of efforts to create a Palestinian state, plans to visit Washington next month; aides said he was preparing to outline his emerging policy to President Obama.
Asked about those comments during an appearance before a panel of the House Appropriations Committee, Clinton said she did not want to “prejudge the Israeli position until we’ve had face-to-face talks.” But she then cautioned that Israel was unlikely to gain support for thwarting Iran unless there were visible efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood.
“For Israel to get the kind of strong support it’s looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can’t stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand,” Clinton said.
Clinton noted that every Arab official she has met with “wants very much to support the strongest possible policy toward Iran.” But, she said, “they believe that Israel’s willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran.”
As I predicted, Clinton and Barack Obama got this backwards. The Palestinian problem is being stoked by Iran, not the other way around. Iran is behind the rise of Hamas and their coup d’etat in Gaza, which has effectively split the Palestinian proto-state into two entities. They want to ensure that an annihilationist force remains in power in order to give Iran a channel with which they can conduct proxy attacks on Israel. Iran openly funds Hamas for this very reason, just as they fund Hezbollah in Lebanon to create conflict on Israel’s north.
Arabs oppose Iranian hegemony for entirely selfish reasons; none of them want to live under a Persian thumb. That has nothing to do with Israel. If an American State Department can’t arrange Arab opposition to Iran, then they should quit in shame over their complete and abject incompetence. I’m not sure I’ve heard such a dumb excuse coming from State, and certainly not from a Secretary of State.
Israel’s engagement on Iran for the last 16 years since Oslo hasn’t garnered them the least bit of Arab opposition to Iranian hegemony. Israel has signed the Oslo accords, and suffered through two intifadas for their trouble. They pulled out of Gaza and dismantled all of the settlements there, and in return they get showered by thousands of rockets and missiles every year from Hamastan. Have Arab nations lifted a finger so far to keep Iran from funding Hamas in Gaza? Not at all. They’re far more concerned about Iran’s proxy attacks on their own governments, a concern that Hillary Clinton is apparently entirely incapable of recognizing and leveraging for real change in the Middle East.