When the Arab League agreed to a no-fly zone over Libya, it was hailed by supporters of the Obama administration as a triumph of diplomacy. But now the other shoe is about to drop as the Arab League is preparing to demand a no-fly zone over Gaza.
The latest round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group that rules the Gaza strip has involved a missile bombardment against Israel with Israel responding primarily with air strikes. While a cease-fire is currently being discussed, the Arab League move seems at once to be brazen in its unmitigated gall and clever in its attempt to draw moral equivalency between Moammar Gadhafi and the State of Israel.
The proposal of a no-fly zone over Gaza is not meant to be taken more seriously than in any attempt at political posturing. President Barack Obama, despite his well known antipathy toward Israel, is not going to take the politically suicidal step of sending American pilots to tangle with an U.S. ally. Europe will not send its own planes and pilots for the understandable reason that they would be outmatched. The poor record of Arab air forces against Israel goes without saying.
The proposal will allow Arab politicians to loudly decry the idea of a non-fly zone directed against a Muslim (i.e. Gadhafi) but not against Jews when it is ignored by most of the world community. Most American presidents would ignore this kind of complaining. But President Obama, also well known for making a fetish for taking into the account the hurt feelings of other countries, especially those opposed to the United States, might react a little differently.
While he certainly won’t agree to a no-fly zone over Gaza, Obama might be persuaded to agree to some other concession in order to appease the members of the Arab League. That will likely involve applying more pressure against Israel to make it offer more concessions in the eternal and interminable peace talks with the Palestinians. It might also consist of demands that Israel show more restraint the next time it is attacked either from Gaza of from Hezbollah occupied Lebanon.
That in turn will place Obama in an uncomfortable position with the American people, who tend to be more supportive of Israel that the current president. Obama cannot go too far, lest he alienate too many registered voters in 2012. Otherwise his weakened political position will further deteriorate and he will be at greater risk of losing the election.
Sources: Arab League to ask UN to impose no-fly zone over Gaza, Jerusalem Post, April 10, 2011
Why Does Obama Hate Israel? Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, March 15, 2010