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Obama and Abraham

Herb Boyd | 8/7/2014, 12:44 p.m.

Of all President Barack Obama’s troubling international issues, his biggest headache and dilemma is the conflict in the Middle East, more specifically, the on-again, off-again exchange of death and misery between Israel and Hamas.

On both sides of this tragedy are the descendants of Abraham, as Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel pointed out in a recent ad campaign for peace, that is, people who trace their lineage back to Ishmael and Isaac. Although Wiesel, for the most part, offers a balanced approach in his plea for peace, the title appears slanted toward Israel, with the demand that “Hamas needs to stop using children as shields.”

Nothing demonstrates Obama’s ambivalence more than his recent decision to give Israel $225 million to restock its Iron Dome missile defense system. The bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously Friday in a vote of 395 to 8. Thus far, the system, which was developed by the U.S. and Israel to intercept rockets that began to rain in from Gaza July 17, has been very effective but costly. Each interceptor missile costs more than $50,000.

On the other hand, the Obama administration expressed its outrage recently when the sixth Israeli strike on a Gaza U.N. shelter killed several Palestinians fleeing the bombardment from the Israeli Defense Force. Earlier, the administration voiced some concern about the lopsided battle that has resulted in thousands of Palestinian casualties, mostly innocent women and children, while fewer than 70 Israeli soldiers and few Israeli civilians have been killed.

The recent attack on the U.N. facility was “indefensible,” said the president’s senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett. “You can’t condone the killing of all of these innocent children.”

As we go to press, yet another cease-fire agreement is in effect, but if it’s anything like the previous efforts, it will be lucky to make it through the night.

Adding fuel to this endless turmoil are the latest leaks from Edward Snowden, indicating that “the single largest exchange between NSA and ISNU (Israeli SIGINT National Unit) is on targets in the Middle East which constitute strategic threats to U.S. and Israeli interests.”

These new documents from Snowden, writes Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept website, “underscore the indispensable, direct involvement of the U.S. government and its key allies in Israeli aggression against its neighbors. That covert support is squarely at odds with the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters.”

If you are interested in more of this analysis of the longstanding relationship between the U.S. and Israeli, go to The Intercept at https://firstlook.org/theintercept/staff/glenn-greenwald/.

You can also check out Wiesel’s full article in The New York Times or read the reaction of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who states that Wiesel’s rationale of the campaign is to bring “one of the greatest moral voices of our time and one of the most respected human beings alive, who bore witness to the atrocities of genocide and the Holocaust, to respond to the ugly and fraudulent criticisms of Israel and call for an end to the genocidal aspirations of Hamas.”

Boteach said, “Hamas’ charter is clear—they seek the annihilation of the state of Israel and the murder of Jews wherever they may be found.” His full account can be found at http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/08/01/elie-wiesel-condemns-hamas-for-using-children-as-human-shields-calls-on-gazans-to-reject-hamass-child-sacrifice.