Aside from a few words from Jay Carney on board Air Force One, a brief statement by the State Department, and a short phone call from the president to the Israeli prime minister, the leader of the free world has been remarkably silent on the terrorist attacks on Israel. And so has his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who has barely addressed the issue. In marked contrast, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has been vocal in his support for Israel following the Hamas offensive.
Obama’s track record on Israel has been dismal, with a long line of snubs and insults, including an astonishing refusal to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu on his visit to the United States in September. It is doubtful that his approach towards Israel will be any different in his second term, with Washington likely to apply intense pressure on the Israelis to hold back from tougher action against Iran’s nuclear programme.
President Obama’s public silence on the Gaza front has been deafening. Hamas’ missile strikes on Israel, including its two largest cities, are a brutal assault on a close US friend and ally. The president of the United State should be publicly offering America’s unequivocal and wholehearted support for Israel at this time of need, while issuing a strong condemnation of Hamas, as well as its state sponsor, Iran. This is not a moment for fence sitting and navel gazing from Washington, but robust backing for a key US partner coming under heavy fire from a barbaric terrorist movement armed, funded and controlled by Tehran.