Obama to Form Israel Policy Someday
by Doris Schutt
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama announced today that he eventually will formulate a policy on Israel and Palestine.
"I know Americans have been confused about my policy regarding the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians," he said. "I share their confusion, but there's a very good reason for that. The issue is so complex it completely befuddles me.
"I've been studying the Koran, the Bible and the Torah, trying to figure out what my policy should be. My Muslim friends tell me one thing, my Jewish friends tell me another, and then my Christian friends say something entirely different.
"So my policy for now is this: Until I decide how to stand on this issue, I'm going to do the two things that both Michelle ma Belle and I do best — talk and spend money."
The President said he would continue to send between $2 billion and $3 billion a year to fund Israel's military but that he would increase foreign aid to other counties in the region. He said he is immediately borrowing $400 million to send money to Gaza and the West Bank as a "down payment" for a "river of money" that he anticipates diverting toward the region.
"The good citizens of the United States are happy to contribute toward all countries in the Middle East," he said. "We don't have enough money for our own needs, but we have good credit in China, and so we're going to borrow a few billion to see if we can get the Muslims, the Christians and the Jews to get along."
"There are a lot of selfish Americans who would rather have the U.S. Government help them than send aid to Muslims halfway around the world," he said. "But I'm the president, and I think it's time we distribute the wealth around the world.
"This is a perfect time to send money overseas because many Americans are losing their homes and can emphathize with the people of Gaza, who need mortgages backed by the U.S. government. And if Americans think it's not fair that school teachers are being fired and class sizes going up, well, they ought to to to Gaza and see how badly they need schools."
The President said he was undecided about sending the money to Gaza until Palestinians refused to allow the Israelis to search a flotilla of ships for bombs and arms.
"Hamas might be a terrorist organization," Mr. Obama said, "but just because the Palestinians voted for Hamas to run their government, that's no reason to prevent them from importing whatever they want. I share the outrage of the rest of the world when the Israelis boarded those ships completely uninvited.
"The peace activisits who beat up those soldiers with metal rods certainly didn't deserve to be attacked themselves."
Mr. Obama said part of his future policy regarding Israel will reflect lessons that his study of history has taught him.
"No country or government should keep any land won in war," he said. "Therefore, Israel should not keep the West Bank. To be consistent the United States should not keep California or Texas. But the whole thing just boggles my mind because I don't know who should get the West Bank or California for that matter. The Spaniards took California away from the Indians, and then we took California from Mexico, so we should we give it back to?"
Rahm Immanuel, the president's Chief of Staff, said as a Jew he himself doesn't know how to advise the president regarding the state of Israel.
"The United Nations formed Israel," he said. "Her neighbors still don't accept that. But the Jews controlled Palestine at the time of Christ, which was a long time before Muhammad was even born.
"I'm thinking that King Solomon had a good solution. Divide the baby up equally. So let's take all the land in the Middle East, divide it up and then have a lottery to see who wins what. That would settle it once and for all."
Obama said he is willing to try anything, pointing out that no previous attempt to eliminate hostilities in the Middle East has succeeded.
"Maybe Helen Thomas was right," he said. "If there were no state of Israel, there would finally be peace in the region.
"Sometimes we learn from our mistakes," he said. "I would never admit to smoking marijuana again."
White House Press Chief Robert Gibbs said Mr. Obama's openness about his Israel policy is part of his promise to show transparency in his administration.
"How much more transparent can you be than invisible?" Gibbs asked. "His Middle East policy does not exist, and that's why we're willing to show it to the world. Every previous president who has had a Middle East policy has proven to be wrong. President Obama is smart enough to understand that once you take a stand, you must defend it. And he is not ready to do that yet."
Past presidents have opened themselves to criticism by taking positions on controversial issues, said Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian who specializes in U.S. presidents.
"The first President Bush became susceptible when he promised not to raise taxes," she said, "but then he violated his promise when he agreed to raise taxes if the Democrats would cut spending. He lost to Clinton because of that. Interestingly, many Americans said they could have lived with his broken promise but they could never vote for a President who was stupid enough to believe the Democrats."
B. Rayne Storm, the author of the best selling book, The Statute of Liberality, said Obama is wise to take no position on Israel.
"When a liberal must face a no-win situation," he said, "the smart thing to do is to keep out of the ring. Obama shouldn't agree to a boxing match with Sarah Palin, for example, because he would lose either way. If she knocked him out, he would never live it down. And if he knocked her teeth out, he would be called a bully.
"That's why Obama should never take sides in the Middle East. It's just better to fight for nothing than fight for something that is not worth fighting for."
White House Chief Psychologist Moe N. Seign said Obama's tendency to vote "present" indicates insecurity.
"We've been staying up late working on this issue," Seign said. "The President still has hopes of serving a second term, and he's afraid that people won't like him if he takes unpopular positions.
"He said every time he makes up his mind, it backfires on him. He was against drilling for oil until the public blamed him for high gasoline prices, so then he came out for more offshore drilling. And then the Deepwater Horizon blew up, and so now he has to take a stand against all new oil exploration. So now people are mad that he hasn't stopped old oil exploration.
"Once you get on that vicious circle of trying to please everybody, it's hard to get off, kind of like a hamster trying to get out of a wheel cage.
Obama said there is one huge negative about declining to take a position.
"When I haven't made up my mind, I can't even change it."
Quote of the Day
“The optimist lives on the peninsula of infinite possibilities; the pessimist is stranded on the island of perpetual indecision.” — William Arthur Ward