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      The Unbridgeable Obama-Netanyahu Gap

      Analyst and former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger says Obama’s pro-Muslim tilt and advisors keep him from ever understanding Netanyahu.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 5/26/2011, 12:49 PM / Last Update: 5/26/2011, 2:37 PM

      Rivkah Rybak

      Analyst and former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger says Obama’s pro-Muslim advisors keep him unbridgeably away from understanding Netanyahu.

      Amidst all the commentary and verbiage regarding the recent speeches by Obama and Netanyahu, American-Israeli expert Yoram Ettinger says the cultural and political gap between the two is unbridgeable – largely because of Obama’s pro-Muslim advisors and tilt.

      The gap won’t be spanned, Ettinger writes, ”as long as the President assumes that the ethnic, religious, tribal and ideological violent power struggles on the Arab street constitute ‘a story of self-determination’ and ‘the vanguard of democracy.’"

      Similarly, “Netanyahu cannot bridge the gap between himself and Obama as long as the President's world view is heavily influenced/shaped by his senior advisors: Valery Jarrett, who is the favorite of Muslim organizations in the U.S., Ambassador Susan Rice, who considers Israel part of the exploiting Western world and the Palestinians part of the exploited Third World, and Samantha Power, who is one of Israel's harshest critics in the U.S.  In addition, Obama considers Prof. Rashid Khalidi, who was a key PLO spokesman in the U.S., a luminary on the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

      Another issue preventing Obama from understanding Israel is his underlying assumption that the Israel-PLO issue is the “root cause of Middle East turbulence, the core cause of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, and the crown jewel of Arab policy-making.”  

      Assumption of Security in Insecure Borders
      And possibly most significant of all, according to Ettinger, Obama “assumes that Israel can be secure - in the most violent and volatile region of the world - within the 1967 borders. Such borders would rob the Jewish State of its Cradle of History and would reduce its waistline to 9-15 miles (over-towered by the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) - the distance between JFK and LaGuardia airports...”

      “How can the gap be bridged,” Ettinger asks, “when Obama considers the 1967 lines - and not hate-education in Abu Mazen's schools, media and mosques - the crux of the conflict?”

      Ettinger has long said, and continues to say, that Israel must respond to illogical American demands with firmness and facts on the ground – as it has done, with positive results, several times in recent decades. Ben-Gurion defied the State Department; Eshkol built in and reunited Jerusalem over Johnson’s objections; Golda built four new Jerusalem neighborhoods when Nixon proposed the Rogers Plan; and Shamir rebuffed Presidential pressure in several areas.

      On the other hand, Ettinger says, Netanyahu should focus Israel’s relations with the U.S. on issues such as enhanced strategic cooperation, the mounting threats to U.S. interests, the absence of any reliable/capable Arab ally, the intensified Iranian threat, the increased Russian and Chinese profile in the Middle East, the development of energy alternatives, water technologies, homeland security, and more.