Monday, October 26, 2009

It's just a little bit of history repeating

Shirley Bassey would assuredly agree

I’m sure I’ve written this before, but it never fails to be true: the Arabs never miss an opportunity to fail. A summit of Mediterranean foreign ministers was canceled today after Egypt and other Arab states refused to sit at the same table as Israel’s foreign minister. The summit is part of the re-started Barcelona Process, referred to recently as The Union for the Mediterranean.

What was supposed to be a summit to discuss issues affecting Mediterranean states was turned into a single-issue summit, the cancelation of such will mean that several important issues outside the conflict will not be addressed.

This is one event in a recent string of Arabs taking every opportunity to fail that presents itself. Turkey’s prime minister made comments last week that Israel was threatening to nuke Gaza. We’ll forget, for the moment, that nuking Gaza means nuclear fallout over a number of Israeli cities, and forget, for the moment, that such an action would lead to world-wide condemnation of Israel at the highest and most influential levels, and forget, for the moment, that such an action would isolate Israel in every way from everything that matters to Israel. It’s high-cost with zero reward. One can only conclude that Erdogen wanted to rouse Arab resentment of Israel.

Success: Jordanians are currently protesting the 15-year old peace agreement with Israel, calling for its annulment. Success: Egypt canceled the meeting of the ministers. Success: Muslim leaders are calling for, and getting, Muslims to flock to the Temple Mount to defend make-believe Jewish assaults on the holy site (forget that it’s against Jewish law to even touch the site) by assaulting the Jerusalem police and initiating riots in East Jerusalem. It’s not all Erdogen’s fault, it’s not all Egypt’s fault, but collectively and with the help of others, the Arabs are, pardon the expression, shitting on President Obama’s efforts, and the right rhetoric from the Israeli’s, to re-establish the peace process. Again, they’re taking that opportunity to fail to heart.

Their actions are only playing into the hands of the Israelis. While I’m no supporter of Obama’s policies, domestic politics put a reassuring tone on the play. Obama has really put himself out there diplomatically in ways that, if unsuccessful, present him as weak and without influence and will make him a one-term president. He won’t put up with the Arab’s actions for long if he wants a second term. The Arabs finally have a U.S. leader who honestly cares for the cause of peace at (nearly) whatever cost, which favors the Arabs more than the Israelis, and they seem even more turned off to him that our most recent past president. It’s baffling, yet unsurprising.

For what it's worth, and it's worth at least something, I hear that the European members of the Union of the Mediterranean are pissed by the actions of Egypt and its Arab partners that forced France, who organized the summit, to cancel it. You want to talk about insulting several of your most supportive Western allies, this is it.

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