Trump, Obama have different views on Middle East

Middle East USA World

What a difference a decade makes.

Ten years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hustled out of the back door of the White House after he was dissed by President Barack Obama.

Last week President Trump welcomed him as a hero. That came upon the signing of the Abraham Accords, a peace deal among Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, during an elaborate White House ceremony.

The old Obama insult of Netanyahu came when Obama, never a friend of Israel, abruptly walked out of a tense March 2010 meeting over Israeli expanded construction in Jerusalem.

Obama, who opposed the construction, left the gathering mid-meeting.

“I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls,” Obama said, walking out.

The snub left Netanyahu and his entourage stewing in the Roosevelt Room for over an hour. It clearly indicated to the Israelis how much their stock had fallen with Obama who tilted toward the Palestinians in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian feud.

Earlier Obama refused to release photos of the meeting and turned down an Israeli request to issue a joint statement. The pair met again after Obama returned from dinner, but nothing was resolved, and the Israelis left, insulted and disappointed.

Television news showed film of Netanyahu and his group leaving by the back of the White House in darkness.

“There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans (Obama) did not try on the prime minister, “an Israeli newspaper fumed.

Obama disliked Netanyahu and what he stood for so much that he even sent a team of his political operatives to Israel in 2015 to campaign against Netanyahu who was seeking re-election.

Last week the Israeli leader was back, this time praised and feted by President Trump. Netanyahu looked so pleased that he appeared to ask, “Barack who?”

The Netanyahu visit was for the signing of the historic Abraham Accords, named after Abraham, the founder of three great religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

There he was, smiling and waving from a White House balcony beside Trump and treaty co-signers. No bum’s rush this time around.

The breakthrough treaty adds two more Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to the list of Muslim-dominated nations in the Middle East that recognize Israel. The first was Egypt in 1979 and then Jordan in 1994.

More Arab nations are expected to follow, according to Trump, who has run circles around the diplomats and Middle East experts. They for years have insisted that nothing could be done to end fighting in the region unless Israeli first made acceptable concessions with the intransigent Palestinians.

Trump proved the experts wrong, just as he did when he earlier moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something past presidents had promised for years. The experts predicted an increase in violence if Trump went ahead with the move. He did, and nothing happened.

The same held true when Trump supported Israeli takeover of the strategic Golan Heights

The old advice proved just what it was, old, like the advice about resolving the issues between Israel and Palestine when the Palestinian leaders insist that Israel must cease to exist.

Since that worn out advice accomplished little, Trump came up with a new approach. It was to go around the Palestinian/Israeli roadblock and get Israeli peace deals with other Arab and Muslim-dominated countries in the neighborhood.

Not only are both the UAE and Bahrain thriving and forward-looking nations anxious to do business with Israel and remain friends with the U.S., but they sit on the Persian Gulf, directly across from Israel-hating Iran, the largest exporter of terrorism in the region.

The treaty is a blow to Iran as other Arab countries, like the Saudis, line up to join the growing alliance designed to thwart Iranian terrorism.

Long gone are the days of Obama taking a knee. Also long gone are the days of Obama sending over planeloads of cash, which the Iranians used to spread terrorism in the region while chanting “Death to America.”

Trump tore up Obama’s nuclear deal, instituted severe economic sanctions and eliminated Iranian Quds Force Leader Qassim Soleimani, who killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers.