Mubarak was in tight with the West. He was progressive, but progressing toward what? He wanted peace between Palestine and Israel, but no democracy in Egypt. Obama wants more land and more time for the Palestinians, yet he does not demand democracy among the Palestinians whose political chasm often results in the jailing of journalists and citizen bloggers, and even sectarian violence.
Yair Lapid wrote in his column in Yediot Achronot Saturday:
“Weâ€™re both good and bad, we love our country and hate it, we think we cannot go on like this but also know there is no other choice.”
“We are both Jewish and democratic, even though itâ€™s unclear what this means. We thank God for choosing us from all nations, but we also remember that he disappeared once, when we most needed him.”
The article continued in a state of uncertainty, bouncing between one extreme and another; symbolic of Israel’s foggy reality, and evocative of, well, democracy.
But if circumstance has not plunged us far enough into a state of uncertainty, the White House has. President George W. Bush influenced us to give up the Gaza Strip, resulting in an impossible situation; the tiny strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan in width, and Lebanon/Syria and Egypt in length, has become a hologram. Turned toward the light you see Palestine; turned away from the light, you see Israel. In between the light and the dark is either the humanitarian and democratic push for peace, the splitting of the land into two countries, living side by side in peace; or a giant puddle of Jewish blood.
With the exit from Gaza in the first decade of the millennium, influenced by a Republican American President, partial to Christian Zionism, the IDF was forced to choose between admittedly disproportionate military operations and blockades, or slow but imminent destruction.
On Friday, President Obama met with Democratic donors in Miami saying:
“When you look at whatâ€™s happening around the world whatâ€™s happening in the Middle East, it is a manifestation of new technologies, the winds of freedom that are blowing through countries that have not felt those winds in decades, a whole new generation that says I want to be a part of this world. Itâ€™s a dangerous time, but itâ€™s also a huge opportunity for us.”
He continued, â€œAll the forces that we see building in Egypt are the forces that should be naturally aligned with us. Should be aligned with Israel.â€
But three or four months before Obama told Mubarak to step down, he told Netanyahu to continue the moratorium on West Bank housing; organizing peace talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, under the aegis of none other than Hosni Mubarak. Obama is saying this: Israel should sacrifice land; AND endure more and more terrorism as a result. And a new democracy in Egypt will push Israel even FURTHER left; demanding the sacrifice of MORE land, that is the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem; AND to endure missile and mortar attacks with a smile on her face. This, according to Obama, according to Israel’s left, is what is good for us.
If almost every Arab nation is thrown into a state of turmoil, though, dog-paddling between autocracies, monarchies and god-blessed DEMOCRACY; why should the Jewish democracy in Israel be the one getting pushed around? Now we make two observations: The Obama White House becomes more and more admired by the Arab world; and Israel becomes less and less secure. Time will tell, but for now it seems as if the truth is found somewhere between survival and democracy.