By Schmoel Yitzhak
Is Benjamin Netanyahu being played for a fool by Barack Obama?
If the Israeli leader capitulates to the American president's pressure on the settlement freeze issue and re-institutes the freeze, one would think the answer is affirmative.
What's the point of another freeze -- for two months?
The Palestinians had all of a previous nine-month moratorium on building inside West Bank settlements and what did Mahmoud Abbas & Co. do in return for Bibi's conciliatory gesture?
Now the White House is offering bribes -- and they are nothing more than bribes -- to obtain yet another building moratorium from the Israelis.
The bribes are on the one hand multiple but in reality useless.
For starters, the moratorium will last for two months and -- according to the American offer -- will not be extended again.
Now isn't two months a rather curious amount of time? Political analyst Barry Rubin does not think so.
Director of Global Research in International Affairs and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs, Rubin reveals the American bribe for what it is and that's almost laughable.
"What is happening in two months?" wonders Rubin out loud. "The U.S. election! The implication is that the Obama Administration is offering Israel the following basic deal: Make us look good until the vote and we will give you a pay-off."
Of course, no such pressure is put on the Palestinian Authority because Obama wouldn't dare do that to his Arab cohorts.
Rubin: "The collapse of the peace talks on the verge of the November elections don't make it look good while the PA walking out in December won't matter in terms of American politics. The Obama Administration cannot bash Israel between now and the elections but it might seek to get revenge in 2011."
Oh, you can bet on that!
Another part of the bribe is that Uncle Sam (Obama) offers to support measures to prevent the smuggling of weapons and terrorists into Israel after a Palestinian state is established.
What a joke.
For one thing, if the White House is interested in preventing smuggling of weapons it could start right now with measures against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Other portions of the bribe -- America vetoing any UN Security Council resolutions against Israel; an Israeli-Arab "regional security architecture" and selling more weapons to Israel -- are transparently phony.
The United States SHOULD veto any anti-Israel UN resolutions because Israel is the Middle East's only democracy; and supposedly is America's foremost ally in the area.
A "regional security architecture" would, as Rubin accurately notes, would "yield precisely...zero."
And as for any additional weapons sales, why in the world should they be contingent on a settlement-building moratorium?
Obama is trying to sucker Bibi into this deal ONLY to help the president's survive an election in which they appear doomed to a clobbering.
More and more Americans are getting wise to the president's cheap tactics. One such individual is Lou Pritchett, vice-president, sales and customer development for Procter & Gamble.
In an open letter to the president, Pritchett delivered a litany of criticism which will be trimmed here because of space limitations.
"You scare me," wrote Pritchett, "because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.
"You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publically denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.
"You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do."
Pritchett's letter was sent to the New York Times -- Obama's unofficial cheerleading sheet -- but the paper never acknowledge it.
Let's hope that Bibi Netanyahu acknowledges the president's bribe for what it is and tells him what he can do with it; as scary as it may be!