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"This is what we have and this is what we have to win with"
7 March 2012

Il Giornale, March 7 2012

Washington - The time of all the options are on the table mentioned by Obama is actually over. It came to an end at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting in Washington. Obama may reiterate it as he did before thirteen thousand fiery friends of Israel, whose passion tried to push him - rather unsuccessfully - to undertake a definitive pledge; yes, Obama responded, but he did it with his often insubstantial and captivating way of beating around the bush, like a bullfighter in the arena, spinning and waving a flag of hope before a huge audience who wanted to love him and be loved by him in that he is going to be the next president.

And he wanted to be loved and to be voted. He repeatedly assured he has Israel close to his heart, that he has been the most loyal president to the unwritten pact between the Jewish State and the USA, that he has defended the Jewish State at the UN and has always helped it  militarily. And this pact surely exists, but it does not apply and perhaps it will never apply to the bull stamping in the arena. The black bull called Iran that is poised for the fight.

Instead, for Israel the time is now, the time has come, a deadline that can no longer be postponed; and so it is for Netanyahu, as clearly voiced during his late night speech characterized by very few and forced smiles of true affection for his American alma mater and by few hints at Obama. The contrast between those who live under the shadow of threat and those who can still afford a wait and see approach will mark the boundary, the dividing line imposed by history.

For the Israeli Prime Minister, it's not a question of policymaking, it's a question of life. And the grandiose display? of joy, amidst the colors and the music to celebrate Aipac’s two guests of honor, the cheers of affection, the applause pushing the two to throw themselves into each others arms seemed to be as eager as lightly sad in view of a destiny fraught with lethal dangers and bloodshed. Obama claimed his rock solid and unflinching devotion to the immortal friendship between Israel and the USA, with the loving approval by Shimon Peres, so warm and so politically correct in his congratulations (the most pro-Israel President ever said the Nobel Laureate President of Israel) and in understanding that, in any case, Obama is already the winner in the next election.

And some hours later, Bibi tested Obama, after a meeting with him during which the two men probably recognized the distance between their red lines. He told him about the fifteen years of unwavering observation of Irans preparation of its atomic power in the face of a silent world, about the ten years of bland sanctions, about the risk posed by the roguest state in history after Nazi Germany if it obtains a lethal weapon with which it can blackmail the whole world. And about Israel that Iran explicitly wants to destroy and annihilate, while the whole Middle East is becoming a nuclear arena and terrorist groups such as the Hezbollah and Hamas as well as Sunni groups such as Al Qaeda receive a nuclear coverage, thus making them the masters of the region. A sad and determined Netanyahu stated that the time has come to make decisions, that the time has come for dear President Obama with whom we will have to live for the next few years. The time has come after having patiently waited for the world to recognize that Iran is preparing the atomic bomb and for the sanctions to be imposed and to work. But this didn't happen. Since it's impossible to live under the looming threat of nuclear destruction, I will never let my people live under the threat of annihilation, our fate must remain entirely in the hands of our people, we are the masters of our life and we have the right to defend it.

This is what AIPAC managed to stage, a fantastic achievement showing that American Jews at least know what the Jewish State is facing: the risk of being destroyed. On the eve of the Super Tuesday when America is going to decide its Republican candidate, the American Jews did offer Obama a huge stage to reiterate what the whole world is consistently questioning: its sympathy for Israel. Obama talked far and wide about it, applauded by the participants who surely don't forget that he hasn't yet visited Israel, although he went to Cairo and Turkey. That he voiced his confidence in a leader such as Erdogan who hates Israel or that he made some openings towards Assad who has an internecine relationship with Israel together with his Hezbollah and Hamas protégés and his brotherly Iran. Obama boasted of his great contribution to Israeli security. But it's a seven-year plan signed by George W Bush. Instead the freezing of the settlements in the territories - his alleged brainchild - was the toll charged and paid in 2010 with nothing in exchange. Too bad.

Today Bibi is making the best of it welcoming Obamas claim about their invincible friendship. In fact, the Republicans don't seem to have any reliable alternative and the destiny will be fulfilled with him. Obama said that anything is possible with Iran, that it's necessary to talk holding a big stick. He didn't say whether he intends to use it. He didn't make a promise in the glamorous venue where the red and blue and the white and light blue of the two large flags blended into wonderful decorations, the spectacular ones that can be produced in Washington. Israel has a very popular saying: This is what we have and this is what we have to win with. Certainly Bibi hasn't forgotten it.