Syria crisis shows Israel cannot rely on Obama

Sunday, September 15, 2013 |  Aviel Schneider

Israel's largest daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot has a photo of US President Barack Obama published with the comment "From threats to words." In Jerusalem, we are disappointed by Obama's behavior.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued veiled criticism of the White House: "If we do not help ourselves, no one will." According to Netanyahu, the world needs to see: "Anyone who uses weapons of mass destruction, has to pay the price."

If Syria used chemical weapons against its own people, there is no doubt it would do so against Israel. Therefore, America's reluctance to act now is being heavily criticized in the Israeli media, and Israelis are once again realizing they cannot truly rely on America to have their backs.

The Russian initiative to control the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal and to destroy these weapons (in a period of up to ten years!) provided Obama with a way to back down while still saving face. From an American perspective, the hesitation is understandable, after the heavy cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. From the Israeli perspective, the situation is dangerous, because Syria has a common border with the Jewish state.

In a speech to new Navy officers in Haifa, Netanyahu signaled that he believes Obama is making a mistake: "This will send a clear message to Syria and Iran that there are no consequences for using weapons of mass destruction."

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a column for the New York Times that US military action in Syria would trigger a new Islamic terrorist campaign against the West. Fears of such terrorism in Europe and America often intimidates governments and prevents them from standing with Israel. Meanwhile, Putin has offered new weapons and even a new nuclear reactor to his friends in Syria and Iran.

Asked by Israel Today to comment on the situation, a young Palestinian Arab by the name of Amshad noted: "It looks like the Russians are making good on their friendship with Syria and Iran. But where is the United States, which constantly speaks of its unshakable support for Israel?"

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