On Thursday, following the announcement of the historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made the astonishing claim that the Obama administration was partially responsible for preparing the way for the deal.
Biden said that “the coming together of Israel and Arab states builds on the efforts of multiple administrations to foster a broader Arab-Israeli opening, including the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration to build on the Arab Peace Initiative,” adding, “I personally spent time with leaders of both Israel and the UAE during our administration building the case for cooperation and broader engagement and the benefits it could deliver to both nations, and I am gratified by today’s announcement. It is a timely reminder that enmities and differences — even long standing ones — are not set in stone, and of the role American diplomacy can play,” as Fox News reported.
The Arab Peace Initiative that Biden cited was proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at the 2002 Arab League Summit in Beirut, Lebanon, endorsed by that summit, and later endorsed at the 2007 summit in Riyadh. It called for full Israeli withdrawal from Golan Heights, which would leave Israel vulnerable to attacks from above it, withdrawal from the Biblical Judea and Samaria, where the ancient Jewish kings were crowned, and withdrawal from East Jerusalem, which includes the Temple Mount, the site of the Biblical temples, and for Jews, the holiest place on earth.
As it turned out, Israel never compromised on those issues, and yet the UAE has made peace, so Biden’s citation of the Arab Peace Initiative to buttress his claim that the Obama administration had anything to do with the deal is ludicrous.
But in one sense, Biden is correct, albeit not for the reasons he cited. The Obama administration, by its support for the theocratic, despotic Iranian regime, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, triggered Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia to link with Israel as all four countries were aware of the Iranian threat to all of them.
Obama’s contempt for Israel was expressed in numerous ways. Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s U.S. ambassador from 2009 to 2013, wrote that while Obama spoke with Jeffrey Goldberg, whom Oren described as Obama’s “conduit on all things Israel-related,” Obama “warned Israel of its growing isolation in the world and vulnerability to boycotts.” Goldberg told Charlie Rose, “I took it to be a little bit of a veiled threat,” adding that he interpreted the words as Obama’s way of saying, “nice little Jewish state you got there, I’d hate to see something happen to it.”
After the massive Haitian earthquake in 2010, Israeli volunteers established the first hospital unit there to aid the victims. Obama’s statement on the tragedy thanked six other countries for their assistance but ignored Israel.
In 2014, while Israel was engaged in the Gaza war, the Obama administration delayed delivery of U.S.-made Hellfire missiles to Israel; the Israeli Air Force modified its Apache helicopters to enable use of Rafael-manufactured air-to-surface missiles out of necessity.
And of course, just before he left office, Obama made sure to abstain on a U.N. vote, breaking with past practice and permitting the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law, as NBC News reported.
The late Charles Krauthammer wrote of the resolution:
It’s the third category of “settlement” that is the most contentious and that Security Council Resolution 2334 explicitly condemns: East Jerusalem. This is not just scandalous; it’s absurd. America acquiesces to a declaration that, as a matter of international law, the Jewish state has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the entire Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. They belong to Palestine.
The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism. That it should be declared foreign to the Jewish people is as if the Security Council declared Mecca and Medina to be territory to which Islam has no claim. Such is the Orwellian universe Israel inhabits.