American President Barack Obama will be making his premiere visit to Israel next week. This will be the first time that he has visited here since he was first elected, over four years ago. The teams in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office and other administrative branches of government here are working very hard to ensure a pleasant stay for Mr. Obama. In the news, we read that he will have dinner with Israel’s new beauty queen, Yityish Titi Aynaw, a young lady who was born in Ethiopia and emigrated to Israel as a child.
We are not sure, however, if he will visit Israel’s most holy place, the Temple Mount, since the Islamic Hamas organization has issued a severe warning that a visit there would be “a diplomatic catastrophe.”
According to some reports, the American president plans to insult Israel’s academic community by excluding students of Ariel University from his address to Israeli university students. I had actually suggested that the president take a tour of Shomron to see the Barkan Industrial Park, the university and our organic farms and wineries. It’s a shame that he will be missing out on this tour.
I won’t be here during his visit, as I will be leading a delegation to the EU parliament in Brussels. Our group, headed by Shomron Regional Director Gershon Mesika, will be meeting members of the European Union Parliament to defend the products manufactured in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), in light of the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton’s statements calling for labelling and boycotting products from Judea and Samaria.
Many international officials are not aware of the benefits produced by the Jewish communities for both Jews and Arabs in this region – the development and workplaces that they provide. We who live here are convinced that if the public and policy-makers had a more even picture of the reality on the ground, their opinions on the future of this area might be very different.
If President Obama and Catherine Ashton really care about the people who live here, they should be encouraging the expansion of Jewish communities (settlements) and support investment in projects that would bring more workplaces to the region.
Many have asked me if I expect President Obama’s visit to be a “game changer” on the peace process in the region, and if he will revive the Two State program. In truth, I think that Obama will have a nice visit in Israel. Then he will go home and life here will continue as it was before. People here are tired of arrogant western politicians who think that they know better than we do, how we can best get along with each other.
The Two State idea that the West has been pushing on us has proven, over the past 20 years, to be a total failure, as was the entire Oslo process. The plan of bringing in the PLO from Tunis to take control of the local Arab population in Judea and Samaria has brought only tragedy. The international community has funnelled in billions and billions of dollars, meant to assist the Palestinians in developing an economy that can provide for its residents. The donor states know that their money have been embezzled by the PLO leadership, but they continue to refuse to open their eyes and acknowledge that the Two State program is actually the biggest obstacle to peace.
I doubt that Obama is really interested in learning about the real problems of this area, nor do I expect that he has much to offer here. His visit will be short; he will be treated well and receive some media coverage. But he will go home and is primarily expected to find solutions to America’s problems. I wish him luck.
David Ha’ivri is an Israeli writer and speaker. He is a settler and the director of the Shomron Liaison Office which deals with international affairs on behalf of the Jewish communities in the West Bank.
The views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of Your Middle East.