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White House: Israel “Has a Right to Defend Itself”

by Keith Koffler on November 17, 2012, 6:57 pm

The White House today stuck the right note as Israel fights back against the rain of missiles emanating from Gaza, suggesting it is the Palestinians who are causing the violence and that Israel is correct to retaliate.

White House National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Bangkok, where President Obama will begin a five-day trip to Southeast Asia.

What we would like to see is those nations like Egypt and Turkey, that maintain relations with Hamas, to help bring this to a conclusion to bring an end to the rocket fire that we’ve seen out of Gaza, and to allow for a de-escalation in the conflict, generally . . .

I think what we want is the same thing the Israelis want, which is an end to the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. And if that can be accomplished through de-escalation, that would obviously be a positive step forward.

We believe that the precipitating factor for the conflict was the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We believe that Israel has a right to defend itself, and they’ll make their own decisions about the tactics that they use in that regard.

However, I think we have a shared view that if you could have a de-escalation that brings an end to this violence that would be a positive outcome. We just believe that that has to include putting an end to the rocket fire that has terrorized far too much of the Israeli population for far too long.

It’s reassuring to see Obama taking an unambiguously supportive stance toward Israel, particularly now that he no longer needs Jewish votes. Obama in the past has struck too “balanced” a tone with respect to our most ally in the region.

Israel is in a fight for its survival. Despite his rocky relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama has been on the phone with him nearly every day since the crisis began. The president is off to a good start with his second-term approach to the Middle East.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Quintis Arrius November 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

As far as de-escalation tactics, destroying the Hamas weapons caches, eliminating Hamas leaders, and reducing the Hamas Command and Control centers to rubble appear to offer pretty clear intentions that the Israelis are employing the way of war as “controlled violence” in the most effective manner. And show once again, our President is over his head.

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srdem65 November 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Saying a country has the right to defend itself isn’t the same as condemning the other guys who are lobbing rockets at them. Being supportive isn’t the same as offering support, and talk is cheap.
Where’s the condemnation of the Palenstine’s unprovoked attacks, the warning to Egyptian forces to stay out of the fight?

The Israelis I watched running for cover, falling flat on the ground to protect themselves from bomb debris and the ones who will bury their dead or care for the wounded probably don’t give a damn that MrObama approves of their fighting to save their lives and future. They would most likely love to hear that America will throw it’s mighty weight behind Israel’s effort, that we will do whatever we can to help them defeat these people who want to kill every Jew on earth.
No mushy-mouth statement from some StateDepartment flunky will carry the same weight as the words of the President, himself.

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srdem65 November 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Hmm. Pretty strong statements here, huh.
My apologies to the StateDepartment flunky, he might have been following orders to issue the “mushy-mouth” statement.
Also, it’s not my intention to accuse the President of hiding behind the StateDepartment flunky, it only looks that way to me.

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Susan November 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Your words are not too strong in my opinion, srdem. The man has been leading from behind since day one, so I’m not surprised he would send some low level bureaucrat out there to issue his mealy-mouthed “can’t we all just get along” bullcrap. He knows his fellow traveler Morsi went to Gaza to stir up more hatred for Jews. He also knows Israel has been fired on from Egypt as well. He’s nothing but a coward who runs away from his responsibilities and is nowhere to be found when our allies need our assistance.

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Anonna November 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

Sent out a mid-level bureaucrat for the same reason he sent Susan Rice out to “present” about Benghazi – impossible to pin responsibility if the mouthpiece is inapppropriate or mid-level.

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Girly1 November 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Obama’s second term is all about his ‘legacy’. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Sadie November 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

No mention of the rocket fire from Egypt or Syria.
No mention of Iranian Fajr 5 missiles fired from Gaza.
No mention of destroying the caches of weapons stockpiled in Gaza, in schools, mosques.
No mention Palestinian leadership has asked for and been promised a vote in the U.N. General Assembly on November 29th for the world to declare an official Palestinian state. Before this week’s violent escalation by Hamas, the Palestinians were all-but-assured of a winning vote.

75,000 IDF reservists have been called up – I wonder what PM Netanyahu said to Obama on the phone.

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Sadie November 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Go to #10 on the list, which explains Obama’s new note.
http://imra.org.il/
The House and the Senate passed resolutions today. Full text at link

” encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the
international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist
organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets
and missiles against Israel”

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srdem65 November 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Thanks for the linky, Sadie.

A bunch of words from a bunch of cowards who won’t say more than to discourage what sounds like another Holocaust in the making. This attack on Israel isn’t about border disputes or tyranny of some underclass of people, but about the hatred and avowed aim to kill every Jew and destroy Israel by radical Muslims.
The US gave air support and weaponry to shady and basically unknown radical movements to overthrow legitimate governments in the Middle East that turned against us the moment they gained power, but all we have to offer the Israelis is a bunch of words.

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Sadie November 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I’ve been reading a lot the last few days and have come to the conclusion, that Hamas/Gaza missiles and misery has more to do with Abbas/PA more than Israel. See: UN General Assembly November 29th above.

Sometime ago, somewhere on the internet during a previous Israel/Gaza or Arab vs Arab conflict, a commenter summed it up nicely back in January 2009.

“The whole region could be given free health care, free goats for life, and all the virgins in the world, and they would make up something else to kill each other over”.

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Anonna November 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

Bingo.

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Susan November 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm

What a weak-kneed resolution. Kinda hard to discuss diplomacy when there are bombs flying around because the Islamofascists are trying to wipe you off the face of the earth. God bless you and keep you safe all our Israeli friends.

One thing I’m very proud of is working for Redstone Arsenal when the Patriot missile system was in its early testing phase at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The Patriot missile system is the basis for Israel’s Iron Dome.

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AnotherOpinion November 18, 2012 at 2:50 am

Is this something Obama personally said or his reworded – “let’s all get along speech” so he can play celebrity in other countries with little interference?
As far as the resolution goes —- Obama pays as much attention to any Congressional or Senatorial or joint resolution as he does to my neighbor’s barking dog.

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Langley Spook November 18, 2012 at 7:23 am

How about the US ‘think’ about cutting back on the BILLIONS$ we give to Egypt…?

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OldTimer November 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Amen!

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Star November 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Lindsey Graham said that on MTP–looked into the camera and addressed Egypt. Watch out…

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AFVET November 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

Maybe the next thing he’ll do is confront Harry Reid.
OOOOOO, I can’t wait !

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Shofar November 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

Of course Israel has a right to defend itself, that is a no brainer. It would be like saying the US has a right to defend itself if the de facto government of northern Mexico (aka drug cartels) started lobbing rockets at Dallas, San Diego or LA. To have to actually say that Israel has a right to defend itself is a slap in the face of the Israelis. Who is this administration to tell another sovereign nation what they can or cannot do to protect their citizens?

The irksome thing to me is the AP’s equivocating on where the capital of Israel is. In one report they call Jerusalem the capital, then the self declared capital, then the capital of both Israel and the PA. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Period! Whether it is recognized as such by the international community does not matter. Using the logic that many use regarding Jerusalem, then Philadelphia or New York City should be the capital of the US. After all Washington DC is the “self declared” capital of the US.

I am also so sick of hearing about the “Zionist” controlled media. If the media was controlled by Zionist, wouldn’t the reports coming out of Israel and Gaza show all the terror and damage caused by the Palestinians, and not just the damage Israel is doing to Hamas?

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rulierose November 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

yes, the AP’s correction of its correction was great. but did you hear Ashleigh Banfield, of CNN? she described the situation thusly:

“Rockets fired at Jerusalem. It is not the capital at this point, but it is the disputed center of the universe so to speak when it comes to Israel.”

those crazy Jews! somehow they got this silly notion that Jerusalem is a holy city or something.

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cincycinco November 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

“I am also so sick of hearing about the “Zionist” controlled media.” – Shofar

If the “Zionist” control the media, how then did Obama get re-elected?

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ImNoDhimmi November 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

Hey – where did the post about Barry opening Me-Chelle’s gift disappear to?

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Shofar November 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

ImNo –

That post would have opened up too many comment that would have been X rated or at least R rated. Keith was smart to pull it. He knows some of his readers have no filter between their brain and their mouths (or keyboards). Myself, especially.

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Langley Spook November 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Or… is the 2nd term Obama White House starting to ‘pressure’ Mr. Koffler & WhiteHouseDossier from posting snarky pieces about the “Dear Leader”…???

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Shofar November 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Langley,

I think Mrs. Kieth was more likely a voice of reason so as to keep her beloved husband from having to put up with all the rude comments that some of less filtered would post.

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Langley Spook November 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

LOL

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Guillermo Grande November 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

In a statement of strong support for an earlier statement, the White House issued a statement today “Of course Israel has the right to defend itself…but we wish the whole problem would just go away.” A note from my keyboard: This is not a real quote.

Couple of points here (Re: Shofar, Quintas Arrius) assuming the West Bank and the border with Jordan remains stable. Egypt might have a new desire politically to score some points with Muslim brothers in hoods but militarily lacks the resources and capability for a sustained fight. Hence the importance of Gaza to Hamas, the Muslim brotherhood (Egypt), Syria, and Iran. Asymmetrical skirmishing based in Gaza keeps Israel occupied militarily and politically whilst providing fodder for the usual diatribes of Israeli atrocities.

If anything close to a real battle does break out Israel would clean the problem up neatly within a week. End of Gaza as a source of issues and a secure southern flank for Israel. Freeing Israel to focus solely on defending the boarders of Lebanon and Syria is absolutely not in the interests of Iran. In other words, this is going to linger for some time. The White House does want this issue to go away. The worry is they really don’t care how that happens either at the expense of Gaza or Israel. They are not leading anything…they just want the problem to go away. Expect more stongly worded blather from foggy bottom.

Iran, on the other hand is the puppet master in the region and will continue to let the Syrian conflict fester while keeping Gaza on simmer as long as possible. When it suits them, when they are closer to or have achieved a nuclear Iran, Iran won’t hesitate to flip either of these regional issues into an excuse for escalation. This is not your father’s Persia anymore.

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Susan November 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

Persia begets Iran – land of the Aryans – in 1935. The remnants of Hitler’s Third Reich come back to haunt the free world in the 21st century.

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Shofar November 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Guillermo,

Israel learned from the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War that Egypt has no real military, nor military leadership, and I would guess that hasn’t changed with the Brotherhood coming to power.

If Egypt does continue its push against the Israelis, look for a renewed taking of the Sinai, and maybe even a push through to Cairo. Especially with Murgan Salem al-Gohary calling for the destruction of the pyramids and Sphinx. The Suez is also home to Mt. Sinai and St. Catherine’s Monastery. Given the current hard line by the Jihadist in Egypt, I could see an Israeli attempt to salvage at least Mt. Sinai from the Muslim lunacy.

This war is not just about Jew vs. Muslim, it is also about 5000 years of traditions and faith vs. 1400 years of conquest and hate.

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Guillermo Grande November 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Agree. Hope you are well.

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Jeff November 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Personally I think Israel should retake the Sinai all the way to the canal and clean it and Gaza of all the terrorist elements and deport the rest to Egypt. Then open it up to mass Coptic immigration and declare it a Christian nation, open to all the persecuted Christians in the middle east.Then if Israel cleans out Judea and Samaria and annex’s it combined they would be one mighty bulwark against the brotherhood.
Now thats a 2 state solution west of the Jordan River I can deal with

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Sadie November 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Translation: “I am really busy in S.E. Asia and I am not getting enough headlines and face-time with the cameras”

“Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory,” Obama said at the start of a three-nation tour in Asia.

“If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable,” he said. “It’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It’s also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”

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rulierose November 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I don’t know…frankly, this is better than I would have expected from a second-term Obama. he made it clear that Hamas was the problem, and that Israel has the right to defend itself. considering Obama isn’t really sympathetic to Israel, I’m reassured he at least has identified the good guys and the bad guys here.

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Anne Lieberman November 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

I don’t feel all that reassured by any statements of Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/11/AR2010011103758.html

It’s very nice to acknowledge the obvious – that Israel has the right to defend herself – but what’s missing (cue the crickets) is a statement that the US “strongly condemns” the terrorist scum who are firing rockets at Israeli civilians — and their leadership, who are hiding in the basement of Shifa HOSPITAL in Gaza.

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Sadie November 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

In Shifa Hospital, in mosques, in schools …

IDF dropping leaflets into Gaza: Important Message to Gaza Strip residents: Hamas is playing with fire and endangering your lives for naught. The IDF is proceeding to the next phase. For your own safety, we ask you to adhere to our instructions and distance yourselves from Hamas operatives and infrastructure. Sincerely, THE IDF.

זהו לשון הכרוז: “הודעה חשובה לתושבי הרצועה: חמאס משחק באש ומסכן את חייכם לשווא”, נפתחה ההודעה. “צבא ההגנה לישראל עובר לשלב הבא. למען ביטחונכם אתם נקראים לציית להנחיות ולהימנע מלהתקרב לתשתיות ולפעילים של חמאס. על החתום, צה”ל”.

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gracepmc November 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Did you ever see that picture of a post election partying Obama staff? There is a cut out of Hillary with one guys hand on her breast (Favreau) — can we say war on women — and some other people. This is Obama’s gifted staff. Somewhere else (I cannot cite) that many of Obama’s speeches are recycled. I cannot comment on Rhodes — for all I know he is brilliant. But then again, it depends on to what cause you lend your talents. As “they” say “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”. And finally, the fact that Hillary Clinton was willing to throw in her chips with this crew surpises me not one bit.

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rulierose November 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

er…I’m pretty sure I know the photo you’re referring to, and it’s from the 2008 post-election period, not the 2012 one.

as for Hillary: the Clintons are survivors. you watch: everybody’s going to come out of this Benghazi thing tarnished except for Hillary, and she’s the one who supposedly took “responsibility” for it! never count out a Clinton.

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gracepmc November 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Thanks. I did fail to mention that it was 2008. I suppose I am taken aback that these guys are still around in 2012 doing the same old same old speeches. And that Hillary could join forces with the Obama Administration given the campaign and attitude like the one exhibited in the pix. That Hillary is still around is a given — cockroach cutie.

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Anonna November 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Bingo — same doofuses around, four years older, not four years wiser.

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Star November 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

Again–the straw man–no one said Israel did not have the right to defend itself–the question is, who else will?

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Anne Lieberman November 18, 2012 at 11:28 am
Julie Brueckheimer November 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Unambiguous, I’m not too sure. The AP, which I consider a mouthpiece for the administration, called Jerusalem the capital of Israel but then retracted.

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Uncle Reggie November 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

UPDATE: But of course then Obama, who always has to have it all ways, publicly warned Israel against “ramping up” the conflict. I guess then he stands solidly behind Israel’s right to defend itself as long as it doesn’t – um – defend itself.

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Anonna November 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm

There’s a secret level of response that Uncle BO finds acceptable. If Israel should exceed it or fail to meet it, expect Uncle BO to chastise them.

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srdem65 November 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Checking the MSM websites for news on the conflict reveals that after five days of fighting the number of those killed doesn’t equal the same number of Americans killed on any weekend in Chicago.

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sablegsd November 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Unambiguous? I don’t think so Keith. Basically he said, you have the right to defend yourself, as long as you don’t do what you need to do to defend yourself.

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Debbie ray max November 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm

What has Obama done in the last several years that would give us confidence that he will sincerely support Israel?!

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Ariel Hessing December 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm

“Be not that far from me, for trouble is near; haste Thee to help me. Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. “

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