Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Stop being a coward, Mr Obama

Published:Wednesday | July 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I am beginning to think that Mr Obama has a streak of cowardice or irrationality in his make-up. How else explain, amid his other acts of bravery and good sense, his failure to deal firmly with Israel. The United States continues to subsidise Israel's military machine to more than US$1 billion a year. Obama's despatch of John Kerry to pursue a "peace process" is an advance over a previous standoff but by itself a completely futile gesture.

The focus on the "terrorist" character of Hamas is profoundly misplaced. Yes, Hamas shoots off rockets over Israel, builds tunnels for sending "terrorists" into Israel. The rockets have had marginal effect, the tunnels could have done far worse. But these are the struggles of a besieged people. Oppressed and denied basic rights for decades. These are what provoke irrational responses.

The focus must be placed on Israel's injustice to the Palestinians, its occupation of the land of Palestinians, its encirclement and blockade of Gaza. The appalling human suffering we all see in Gaza from the Israeli bombardment is the logical fruit of this injustice.

There can be no peace, no end to terrorism, as long as Israeli injustice is allowed by the US and the UK to continue. I want Israel to have boundaries safe from terrorist attack. But Israel has taken the wrong way to get it, a fundamentally immoral way.

Mr Obama must deal with his cowardice and irrationality. Mr Cameron will follow.