Mar 18 2010
As Barack Husein Obama tightens the embargo of weapons to Israel, he considers giving a military shield to Palestinian terrorists.
MUSLIM-IN-CHIEF Obama just said to FOX NEWS last night, “Israel is one of our closest allies and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that’s not going to go away,” after denying any crisis in the relationship. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources note that denial makes a lot of sense for the president because it lets him off the hook for dealing with it.
However, in Jerusalem, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called his inner cabinet into its second session on the crisis that same night. The seven ministers were asked to review the situation after President Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton laid down three pre-conditions for restoring normal relations with Jerusalem:
1. The Netanyahu government must extend the 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement construction to include East Jerusalem;
2. When the moratorium runs out in September, it must be renewed for the duration of peace negotiations with the Palestinians;
3. Israeli must make more concessions to the Palestinian Authority and its chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli government was informed that until those conditions were met, its ministers would not be received in Washington by high-level American officials – a virtual boycott, which downgrades the normal diplomatic, strategic and security exchanges between the two administrations to the level of senators and the special Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
Neither party to the difference has mentioned the US administration’s fourth condition for resuming normal relations: an Israeli commitment to refrain from attacking Iran’s nuclear program without prior US consent. Because that commitment has not been offered, administration officials are continuing to hammer Israel in every possible arena. Indeed, the gloves are now off in earnest for insinuations that Israel’s settlement policy is the root-cause of Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb and of the conflicts endangering American lives in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama and Clinton made it clear they would brook no departures from their three demands, which Israel is required to treat as an ultimatum.
Gen. David Petraeus, in his briefing to a Senate panel, said, “Clearly the tensions on these issues [with Israel] have enormous effect on the strategic context in which we operate in the Central Command’s area of responsibility.”
The general denied he had as yet formally asked for the Palestinian territories to be transferred to his command, but added: “In fact, staff members at various times have discussed asking for the Palestinian territories to be added to CENTCOM’s turf.” DEBKAfile’s military sources explain that, if approved, this step would be tantamount to providing the Palestinians with an American military umbrella against Israel.
Senator John McCain, caught on fast to the way the wind is blowing in Obama’s Washington: During his testimony, he put in: “Isn’t the issue not the issue of settlements as much as it is the existence of the state of Israel…? The general did not rise to the senator’s challenge, except for a polite: “Absolutely true.” DEBKA
Barack Hussein Obama blocks shipment of bunker buster bombs already purchased by Israel.
Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.
“This was a political decision,” an official said.
In 2008, the United States approved an Israeli request for bunker-busters capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Officials said delivery of the weapons was held up by the administration of President Barack Obama.
Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E.
“All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010,” a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. “This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly.” WORLD TRIBUNE