There has been a longstanding policy in the U.S. that serving government officials should not take private visits to Israeli-occupied territories.
So why has Pres. Obama’s highest ranking adviser, Rahm Emanuel, been taking his family to the Israeli-occupied Golan? (HT: Didi Remez, here.)
What’s more, as if to underline the military character of Israel’s rule over this territory, the Emanuel family was conveyed there by an Israeli military helicopter.
As JWN readers should be well aware, Israel occupied the whole area of the Golan in the war of 1967, and it has been under military occupation since then. The Israeli Knesset annexed it in 1981– an act of outright aggrandizement that has received recognition from neither the U.S. nor any other government or inter-governmental organization in the world.
Why are Pres. Obama and his principal policy aide being so flagrant about flouting international law, international convention, and the rules of the U.S. government itself in this case? Just to try to keep on escalating their campaign of hostility against Syria?
Indeed, we U.S. citizens should also be asking why the president’s top policy aide feels the need to go to Israel to hold the religious ceremonies marking his son’s coming of age. The vast majority of Jewish Americans hold those ceremonies in their home synagogues here in the U.S.
Emanuel is also reportedly scheduled to meet with PM Netanyahu while he’s in Israel today.
Who is running Obama’s policy in the region, we might ask? No previous Secretary of State or National Security Adviser would have ever allowed the prez’s chief of staff to be playing such a prominent role in an arena of such intense diplomatic sensitivity and also, given the U.S.’s military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, such great centrality for the wellbeing and survival of U.S. troops.
Update 9:35 a.m.:
Here is a translation of a portion of the Maariv report on Emanuel’s visit:
- The IDF Spokesperson’s Office: “Rahm Emanuel and his family were hosted today by the IDF, visited an outpost on the northern border and an Air Force base. All components of the visit were approved by authorized officials.”
In the afternoon, they returned to northern Israel and spent the second half of the day on a tour of sites, some of which serve as a symbol of Israel’s control of the Golan Heights land. They first visited Mt. Bental, near Kibbutz Merom Golan, where they looked over at the Syrian city of Kuneitra. From there they continued to Elrom Studios, and viewed “Oz 77,” an audiovisual presentation that depicts the heroic and bloody battle over the “Vale of Tears” in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
“Emanuel has a very warm spot in his heart for the Golan Heights, because he volunteered there for two weeks in the Northern Command during the Gulf War. Presumably, he is opposed to giving back the Golan Heights,” a source in Washington said yesterday.
Today, Emanuel’s visit to Israel will take on a slightly more official nature. He will meet this evening with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a visit that was defined as unofficial. During the meeting, as stated by the White House, the two will discuss the bilateral relations between the two states. On Thursday, Emanuel and his family are scheduled to meet with President Peres.