Speaking Truth to Power – The Ya’alon Controversy

It should be remembered that the peace settlements between Israel and Egypt and Jordan were achieved because both parties sought to come to an accommodation. No such desire exists on the part of the Palestinians. The objective of the Palestinian leaders is not the acquisition of land, but the end of Jewish sovereignty in the region. Abbas has made it abundantly clear that he will not compromise on anything and yet the U.S. persists in exerting pressure ……… on Israel. This truth may be painful, but someone has to say it – and that’s what Ya’alon did. As Jonathan Tobin wrote on his Commentary blog (January 14th): “The question facing both Israel and the United States is not so much what to do about Ya’alon ….. but at what point it will behoove the two governments to acknowledge the futility of Kerry’s endeavor.” True, the Defense Minister’s choice of the words “obsessive” and “messianic” to describe the American Secretary of State may not have been politically-correct, but his statements include something refreshing and much more important than manners – a direct and sincere dialogue with the citizens of Israel.

Ya’alon pointed out that, as a result of American passivity and indecisiveness, a vacuum has been created by Obama’s foreign policy failures which has led to America’s rapidly declining regional and international status – failures that have included acquiescing in the overthrow of long-time U.S. ally and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, punishing the Egyptian military for overthrowing the highly unpopular Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi by stopping the supply of advanced Apache combat helicopters to the Egyptian army – military equipment that was to be used against jihadist groups threatening Egypt from Gaza and the Sinai peninsula, procrastinating on the continuing slaughter in Syria, perceived weakness in the face of Russia’s annexing the Crimean peninsula, China’s increased aggression in southeast Asia, and Iran’s continuing march towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability – policies that are forcing states in the Middle East to alter their traditional alliances.

Ya’alon is simply repeating out loud what others are thinking. The interim nuclear deal with Iran signed in Geneva last November with the P5+1 allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium – erasing yet another American red line. It makes no mention of Iranian support for terror or human rights abuses. It is silent about the development of Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, and it permits construction to remain on course at the Arak heavy water reactor – construction necessary solely for the production of plutonium whose only purpose is the development of a nuclear weapon. Its inspection provisions are not serious and as a consequence, the Iranians justifiably praised the deal as “surrender” by the West.

If the State Department thinks there’s a problem, the problem is not with what Ya’alon said, but with whoever developed a foreign policy so completely out-of-touch with Middle East realities. He owes no apology to anyone for telling the truth – painful as it is. After all, his comments accurately reflect State Department and White House policies. If anything, it is the Obama Administration that owes an apology to the American people for shirking its responsibilities as leader of the free world.

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