Ever since the 1948 birth of Israel, American presidents have tried to avoid policies that could jeopardize the tiny nation’s existence.
Barack Obama, the most openly hostile one to Israel, came the closest with his misbegotten courtship of Iran.
The presidents followed the unwritten rule because each accepted an underlying fact: That if superpower America put too much daylight between itself and Israel, some of the Jewish nation’s Muslim neighbors would move to wipe it off the map.
That day-to-day reality was true then and remains true now, despite Israel’s powerful military and despite its treaties with Egypt and Jordan and the Abraham Accords, in which four Muslim nations recognized Israel and established commercial, diplomatic and security relations.
Those breakthroughs did not end the existential threat to Israel because the goal has been taken up by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and numerous other terror groups.
Their common patron, of course, is Iran, which finances and directs the groups’ endless assaults on what it calls the Little Satan.
This backdrop is crucial to understanding the unique and grave dangers posed by Joe Biden’s latest moves.
Notorious for consistently being wrong about world events, the president is embarking on a combination of ideas that would create an unprecedented threat to Israel.
And he’s doing it at break-neck speed because he wants to win re-election.
To appeal to Muslim-American voters and to radical young Democrats, many of whom are antisemites who side with Hamas, Biden is pushing Israel for a cease-fire in Gaza and then to accept the creation of a Palestinian state.
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly objecting on both counts, Biden is offering him a sweetener that would have Saudi Arabia normalize relations with the Jewish state.
As its reward, the Saudis would get American civilian nuclear technology and a promise of military protection for the monarchy.
The Saudis would also likely be expected to pump more oil to keep the price of gasoline in America from rising during the campaign.
Biden aims to get all this done by summer so he can run as the president who stopped the war in Gaza, brought the Saudis and Israelis together and created a Palestinian state.
Leaving aside Israel’s objections and many practical hurdles, the biggest wild card is Iran, which has never given Biden a single reason to believe it will drop its quest for nukes and its goal of eliminating Israel.
The fact that its proxies are attacking and killing American troops proves it has not given up its jihadist resolve, which involves regional dominance and driving America out of the Mideast.
Issue’s a nonstarter
For Israel, the idea of a Palestinian state on its borders is wildly premature without the total destruction of Hamas.
Even then, a separate state is unthinkable without a Palestinian constituency for a peaceful two-state solution, which doesn’t exist.
Without that, a new state would be rewarding terrorists for Oct. 7 and guaranteeing repeats.
No government in Israel would dare trust the United Nations to govern a new state or provide security.
The near-certainty that Iran could fill the vacuum and gain control of a Palestinian state makes the issue a nonstarter for most Israelis, including opponents of Netanyahu.
Biden’s complicated moves expand a pattern I’ve noted, that his support for Israel since the Hamas attack has been a mash-up of contradictions.
With one hand he supports Israel militarily by sending weapons and dispatching two aircraft carrier strike groups to the region.
With the other hand, he undercuts the campaign against Hamas with public criticism about civilian casualties in Gaza and had aides sit in Israel’s war cabinet meetings to dictate some military decisions and veto others.
All the while, he refuses to hold Iran accountable for the actions of its proxies and still harbors fantasies of completing Obama’s goal of bribing the mad mullahs into a nuclear pact.
It seems not to have crossed the president’s mind that his lifting of sanctions and paying $6 billion in ransom for hostages enabled Iran to fund its aggressions against our closest ally and disrupt cargo shipping in the Red Sea — all while giving up nothing in exchange.
Soft on Tehran
Although Biden ordered the military to strike back Friday at proxy groups in Iraq and Syria a week after a drone attack killed three American service members in Jordan, he is still letting Iran off the hook.
By saying repeatedly he is trying to avoid a wider war, the president is sending Iran a message that it has deterred him from directly punishing its aggressions.
Out of fear, he treats the symptoms rather than the disease.
It’s a form of appeasement that will end the way appeasement always does.
Until that changes, Iran has no reason to stop waging terror against Israel and destabilizing the region.
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It is paying no direct price, with most of the dead proxy soldiers foreign Arabs.
The fact gives birth to the line that Iran will fight Israel to the last Arab mercenary.
Nonetheless, in another step to woo anti-Israel voters to his campaign, Biden on Thursday ordered sanctions against four Israeli citizens he said committed violence against Palestinians in the West Bank territories.
The actual significance is small, but the symbolism of an American president taking the side of Palestinians and punishing Jews is huge to both groups.
The separate state Biden envisions would include Gaza and most if not all of the West Bank, although it’s not clear what would happen to the nearly 500,000 Israelis who live there.
Past discussions have assumed no Jews would be welcome to stay, even though some 2 million Arabs are citizens of Israel proper.
Would the US endorse ethnic cleansing in a new state?
It’s also not clear what would happen in Jerusalem, with both Jews and Palestinians declaring it their capital.
Despite these enormous unknowns, the president ordered the State Department to study how a Palestinian state could be created after the war ends.
Reports say he also wants the UN to admit “Palestine” as a full member instead of just an observer, and plans to encourage other nations to recognize it immediately.
That would hardly be a problem, given how much vile Jew hatred there is around the world. Indeed, some in the European Union want to impose a Palestinian state, without giving Israel any say in the matter.
It’s not known if Biden would go that far, but he is desperate to defeat Donald Trump, so don’t rule it out.
Regardless, the ultimate problem is that neither Iran nor any of its proxies have given up their dream of eliminating Israel.
Their holdout is not about borders or trade or treaties, it’s about Israel’s right to exist.
It’s about Oct. 7 happening again and again, as Hamas has promised.
Under these circumstances, Biden is playing with fire, one that could consume the Mideast and mark the start of World War III.