Editorial: The speech Obama should give ... but won't
"My fellow Americans," President Barak Obama should say, "this is a very difficult speech to give. The people of Israel have spoken, and the Likud party has been returned to power, which means that Prime Minister Netanyahu will also return to power, in all likelihood.
"Over the last six years, the relationship between Israel and the U.S. has sometimes been frayed, and not because we lack good will toward the state. Instead, we feel that our support has been taken for granted. Our efforts to seek a sincere two-party solution to the Palestinians' sincere grievances have met with silence, and closed paths to communication.
"We have continued to support Israel, even in the face of shocking provocation -- the destruction of the sovereign nation of Gaza, even as Israel itself used American money and technology to shield itself under an iron dome to prevent loss of life. Our expectation for Israel was that with this technology, they would forbear to inflict the great losses of life and property than were inflicted on Gaza, not once, but three times.
"We have continued to support Israel, even as they created more and more settlements in disputed Palestinian lands. Even as the Palestinian authority cried to us to more strongly influence our ally.
"We have supported Israel, even as civilized nations of the world justly condemned her for wartime atrocities, using our great power at the Security Council of the United Nations, in the very shadow of the "Guernica", to shield Israel from sanctions and international condemnation.
"We have done these things out of respect for our long alliance, and out of responsibility for our role in the creation of the Israeli state, even as we, too, heard from our citizens that such actions required some response on our part. We remained silent and supportive.
"Perhaps we were too silent. Perhaps Israel misconstrued our public silence for unquestioning support for her actions. If that is so, it is a serious fault of ours, one that we must now rectify.
"With this election, the Israeli people have spoken. Unfortunately, they have not spoken for the equality of their Arab neighbors. They have not spoken for peace in the region. They have not spoken out against the senseless and needless deaths of thousands, including hundreds of young children, in what amounts to an open air prison in Gaza.
"Unfortunately, we have reached a point in our long and ongoing relationship with Israel, where we can no longer remain silent.
"Our relationship with Israel must change with this election. Our support will no longer be automatic, but rather conditional, based on Israel's behavior henceforth. We will attempt to help Israel and the Palestinians broker a two-state solution; however, we will be strictly neutral in our dealings with the two nations. Palestine will henceforth be considered a sovereign nation by the United States of America.
"We will suspend support to the Israeli military until it is clear to us that Israel is acting in good faith to remove the settlements in the West Bank and to remove barriers for the Arab citizens of Israel to freely travel to their places of worship, their work, and their schools.
"We will countenance no misbehavior on either side. Israel's use of state sanctioned murder must cease in order for American support to resume. Palestine must control those who would seek to use terror as a weapon.
"The U.S. will not permit Israel to interfere with our negotiations with other nations in the region, and will hold Israel strictly accountable for bombings and other actions contrived to influence U.S. diplomacy elsewhere.
"While we seek positive diplomatic relations with all nations on Earth, we will no longer consider our relationship with Israel to be a "special" one. Israel must work to regain a good relationship with the U.S., and unless and until they do, they will not find us to be the uncritical ally they once did.
"It is difficult when friends must part ways, and we hope that Israel will not make such a final step necessary. However, make no mistake: We will not make the errors in judgment we made for far too long with South Africa. If Israel pursues its apartheid plan, as the prime minister alluded to in the days prior to the election, we can and will sanction Israel as we would any other nation that engages in human rights violations.
"I hope that Israel will choose another path.
"May God bless all Americans, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, another faith tradition, or of no tradition at all. And may God bless the United States of America."