Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Syria's Chemicals Topic of Netanyahu and Obama in TV Coverage

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             Emblem of Jerusalem 
The first day of Spring found that Netanyahu met Obama at the airport today for Obama's first trip to Israel as president.  I hope this time he learns how close things are to Israel.  It just happened that somebody used chemical weapons in a northern village near Aleppo.  Both sides accused each other of using it.   A US official said there was no evidence of any such attack, but everyone was talking about it.    Obama thought the rebels would never us this.  He said this needs investigation.  He wants evidence.  The regime (army) was backed up by Russia in their allegations and said that 31 people were killed including 21 civilians and 10 soldiers.  There are tight media restrictions in Syria so could not be independently verified.  Obama said that this would change the picture if true.  .

I don't know about that.  I spent 5 years from 1980 to 85 in Israel watching the Syrian army do despicable things on TV showing how tough and mean they were, things they did to little animals.  How the rebels managed to fight against them and to have the guts to face such a mean army is more than I can imagine.  How it must have affected the general  population seeing such grotesque behavior by their to be admired army has to have shaped their minds and behaviors as well.  So maybe it would be possible for them to put an end to 2 years of fighting such an army that has already taken 70,000 of their people.

The point for Israel is that these horrid chemical weapons can easily fall into the hands of even worse terrorists to be used against Israel.  Netanyahu pointed out that Damascus is only 100 miles away from Israel.  It's like from Boston to Chicago, Obama said.

Obama, an eloquent speaker, spoke a little more haltingly this time, I thought, but took his time to answer questions.  He was such an eloquent speaker that this is what got such a young man and new senator elected the first time.  He lost Israel's approval when he made a bee line to Egypt and told them that the USA would have a new approach and that's what made me nervous, that and the friendships he had back in Chicago with people who were definitely anti-Semitic.  His actions have spoken louder than his words, and so the 10 times that he has met with Netanyahu haven't always been so hot, especially when on TV Obama wanted Netanyahu to go back to the 67 lines which is what the Palestinians want, and then it'll be the 48 lines, and so on.  I think he'll find that Netanyahu is a gracious host.  Obama was smart enough to mention Netanyahu's brother who had died fighting for Israel which brought a few tears to Benyamin's eyes, as I saw they glistened a little then.  We are an emotional people.

Obama was joking that he was happy to be away from the Senate and Netanyahu and he kept saying how close the USA and Israel were, which was a good message for the neighbors of Israel to realize.

Of course they spoke about Iran, and have different opinions when the window will be shut so that action might have to be taken.  I understand that Iran is very close to completion of getting the uranium grade level enriched where it must be to use in weapons .    Obama figures that they won't be ready till the weapon itself is made.  I'm wondering why they couldn't be working on both at the same time, so that when the uranium is ready,  the weapon will be, too.  If so, time is awasting!  Obama thinks they won't be ready for another year.  It's plain that Obama understands that if Israel feels they must defend themself, they will do so, and that's okay with him.  As I remember, Netanyahu really would like to do this together and not have to go it alone.   Plans are in the works for the 2 countries to work together for many more years, hopefully past 2017.  .

Obama's mother taught him to listen before he talks.  This time he plans on following her advice and do a lot of listening.  Still, he didn't talk to heads of state at the Knesset, which is a downer.  He spoke at a hall in Jerusalem, though, where there were plenty of news reporters and Secretary of State, John Kerry,  and a few got to ask questions.  Obama mentioned the blue line.  I thought there was the green line to consider.  Then, Iran is almost at Netanyahu's red line.  The USA will be giving Israel some $200 million for defense.

Chuck T of NBC asked a question of Obama that I thought showed that Chuck didn't know much about the interactions between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  He asked why Obama hadn't got a peace program accomplished in his first 4 years.  Obama had to say it wasn't an easy thing to do.  Oh Chuck, there's so much to inform you about.  Chuck asked what went wrong!  I was amazed.  Yes Chuck, the Palestinians certainly would be healthier if they came to a peace.  So would the Israelis, and it isn't as if they don't want peace.  How would you like it it the USA were attacked almost constantly for 65 years by people 100 miles away or less?

In the meantime, all the women in Israel were busy doing their Passover cleaning and trying to shop and get ready for their first night of the Seder.  It's an all encompassing job.  I hope the people in the old city of Jerusalem can get out and shop.  They have been so blocked because of Obama's visit that they haven't been able to do the things they must get done.

Resource:  Oregonian newspaper 3/20/13 page A8 Syrians trade accusations of chemical use by the Associated Press
NBC TV
CNN TV






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