Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On Israel and Ramallah, Obama gets it all wrong

US President Barack Obama gave a speech on May 22, 2015 in Washington, DC (Adam Kredo, “Obama Denies Animus Toward Israel During Speech at D.C. Synagogue”, Washington Free Beacon, May 22, 2015). He spoke to a gathering of Jews. He spoke of Israel, Ramallah and Iran.
In his speech, he rejected claims that he was hostile towards Israel. He rejected claims that his administration had been unsupportive of Israel. He said he objected to such claims, then repeated, ‘I object forcefully” (ibid).
He wants to see the two-state solution in place. He explained that by saying, “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land as well” (ibid).
That’s wrong. Yes, Israel has its own homeland. That homeland dates back more than 3,000 years. That homeland is Israel, including Judea-Samaria. That homeland includes the Temple Mount, which is in East Jerusalem.
The ‘Palestinians’ claim East Jerusalem as their land. They claim to for their capital.
But where is the ‘Palestinian’ homeland? ‘Palestinians’ claim Israel is their homeland. They claim the Temple Mount as theirs.
But how can ‘Palestinians’ claim the Temple Mount as ‘Palestinian’ land? President Obama has said he’s a Christian. He should know that when the Christian New Testament was written, part of its founding story takes place on the Jewish Temple Mount—not the ‘Palestinian’ Temple Mount. Part of the story of Christianity takes place in Jewish cities, not ‘Palestinian’ cities.
The US President should know there are no ‘Palestinian’ cities in the New Testament. There are, however, Jews and Jewish cities.
Barack Obama has it all wrong. The so-called ‘Palestinians’ may have a ‘homeland’. But that ‘homeland’ is not Israel.
The second thing this President got wrong in his speech to these Jews in Washington, DC has to do with children in Ramallah. About those children, he said, “The rights of the Jewish people then compel me to think about a Palestinian child in Ramallah that feels trapped without opportunity” (ibid). With these words, he suggests that Israel is the force that keeps that child trapped—or contributes substantially to his feeling trapped.
Here’s a news flash: no child needs to feel trapped in Ramallah. It’s not a concentration camp. As capital of the Palestinian Authority, hundreds of millions of dollars flows annually into Ramallah (Edward Sayre and Navtej Dhillon, “West Bank and Gaza Economy: Before and After the Crisis”, Brookings .edu, January 14, 20009). It may have the best economy in all the PA (ibid).
Ramallah is not a hovel. It’s a destination city (Michael T. Luongo, “Ramallah Attracts a Cosmopolitan Crowd”, New York Times, June 3, 2010).
With so much money flowing into Ramallah, there’s certainly funds for schools, social, welfare and training programs for children and youth. If these children don’t get these services, it isn’t Israel’s fault. It’s the fault of local Arab politicians who have their hands on the money but won’t use it for their children.
Ramallah isn’t a war zone or a refugee camp. It’s a vibrant business hub with a highly competitive job market (Ramallah Travel Guide, wikitravel). There are “major working opportunities in Ramallah [that] include information technology, pharmaceuticals, development cooperation, and the public sector(ibid).
That doesn’t sound like a city a child would feel trapped in. Instead, it’s a city with a café culture, night life, music, dance and arts festivals (New York Times, ibid).
It isn’t a city under seige, either. Alcohol flows freely and movie theaters are well attended (Ramallah Travel Guide, ibid). According to its travel site, Ramallah is “without question, the cultural capital of the West Bank, with a highly educated and fashionable population. It is also the hub of Palestinian feminist activity; the city’s women frequently attend university” (ibid).
There are many places for tourists to shop (ibid). “The 'hisbeh' produce market is also a great place to visit, where fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at reasonable prices” (ibid).
Do you sense from these descriptions that people feel trapped, poor, oppressed and desperate in Ramallah?
Ramallah has two Friends School campuses (ibid). It has a number of public and private schools that serve “a good number of the West Bank youth population” (ibid). It’s got private schools with specific religious affiliations (ibid). There are branches in Ramallah for Al-Quds Open University and a number of vocational training centers (ibid).
In Ramallah’s twin city of El-Bireh, there’s a school for the blind that also serves as a vocational center (ibid). In the neighboring town of Birzeit, there’s Birzeit University, “one of the PA’s leading educational institutions” (ibid).
If they are trapped or desperate in Ramallah, it’s not Israel’s fault. It’s the local community’s fault. The city is, by its own self-description, vibrant and wealthy enough to care properly for its children.
The US President has it all wrong. What he says is untrue. Why does he pass on lies as truth?
What’s going on here?


  1. Great article on Jerusalem belonging to Israel.

    The case for a united Jerusalem.
    Larry Hart
    October 29, 2014

  2. The best article on Jerusalem.

    Op-Ed: One Nation's Capital Forever
    The detailed story of Jerusalem and our right to it. Just the facts
    May 11, 2010