On The Ground, Israel, Hillary and Barack, A Lost Opportunity Part 2

On The Ground, Israel, Hillary and Barack, A Lost Opportunity Part 2 April 14, 2023

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Believing he is the King of Israel, indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to remain in power at all costs. Photo Credit: Ronen Zvulun/AP


Wednesday, 12th April 2023

A cold, wet, rainy spring day in Jerusalem as the dust from the recent hot, dry winds are washed away.

Tonight in Israel the Moroccan/North African Jewish holiday of Mimouna will be celebrated. It’s a joyous tradition held on the last night of Passover with family, music, dance and mounds of food.

Local politicians with pasted smiles and camera crews by their side descend upon the most (politically) advantageous gatherings. Tomorrow’s social media will be filled with their faces.

At the same time, tens of thousands of Israelis will soon filter through Ben Gurion Airport on their return from holiday. Thousands more who descended upon Egypt’s Red Sea Coastline in the Sinai Desert will ascend back into their villages, cities and homes.

And the families who lost loved ones through terror, violence or victims of desert flooding, weep with the rain.

Flashback, Israel, February 25th thru March 4, 1996

Immediately after the November 4th 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, the ruling Labor Party holds an emergency meeting. Shimon Peres is appointed acting Prime Minister.

According to the latest polls, Peres and his coalition partners hold a decent lead over Bibi Netanyahu and his anti-peace allies.

Peres calls for early elections in his bid to shore up and consolidate the Labor Party coalition.

May 29th will be the first national election since Rabin’s murder.

With the unlikely support of Hamas terrorists financed by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, everything changes for Shimon Peres.

In a period of 10 days, Hamas launches 4 terrifying, horrific, suicide bombings:

  • Jerusalem, 25th of February, 26 Israeli (17 civilians and 9 soldiers) are killed by a Hamas suicide bomber on Bus Number 18. There are close to 50 severely wounded.
  • Ashkelon, 25th of February, 1 Israeli soldier is killed by a roadside suicide bomb explosion.
  • Jerusalem, 3rd of March, 19 Israeli (16 civilians and 3 soldiers) are killed by a Hamas suicide bomber on Bus Number 18. There are at least 7 severely injured.
  • Tel Aviv, 4th of March. As Israel begins celebrating the joyful, costumed holiday of Purim, 13 Israelis (12 civilians and 1 soldier) are killed with over 130 injured by a suicide bomber strapped with a 20 kilo nail bomb. Coverage of the immediate aftermath is broadcasted on Israeli and foreign television. An unforgettable image haunts Israel. A first responder holds in his hands a 6 month old baby girl who’s alive and obviously in shock. The responder shouts, ‘Who’s baby is this? No one replies. ‘Who’s baby is this?’ No one replies. Hundreds of Israelis call in to the television station. They all say the same thing. If the parents are dead they will adopt the baby girl. Meanwhile, the father of the infant is a dentist who’s watching the carnage on television in his Tel Aviv clinic. His wife, the baby’s mother was killed in the attack.

On Election Day, Bibi’s never ending rhetoric of incitement fueled by Palestinian terrorists, hand him a slim majority.

Headlines read, “We Went To Sleep With Shimon and Woke Up With Bibi.”

Hamas accomplishes the impossible. By killing 61 Israelis and wounding hundreds, the terrorists successfully torpedo the dream and reality of a free, independent State of Palestine. With the peace process demolished, Hamas burdens Israel with the unscrupulous, newly elected Bibi Netanyahu.

Flashback, January 20, 2007, United States of America

Junior Senator from the Great State of New York Hillary Clinton declares her candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

Her impressive list of accomplishments as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States and as Senator is staggering. Here’s a quick summary:

  • For decades Hillary championed education, universal health care; advocated protection for mothers, children and families.
  • When asked by President William J. Clinton (her husband) to chair the “Task Force on National Health Care Reform,” she did not hesitate.
  • Following in the footsteps of Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady Hillary Clinton writes a weekly column. Entitled, “Talking It Over” Hillary discusses her experiences of meeting women and children from around the globe.
  • In the aftermath of 9/11, Senator Clinton initiates the investigation of health issues relating to First Responders. Fire Fighters Associations are deeply grateful and endorse her when she successfully runs for a second term.
  • A Centrist Democrat, Senator Clinton fine-tunes her techniques in the art of working both sides of the aisle. She co-sponsors a bill with Lindsay Graham, joins forces with Newt Gingrich and works with Republican Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist.

There never was, nor will there ever be a Democratic Candidate more experienced, prepared, polished and ready for the job of President of the United States of America.

Flashback, February 10, 2007, Springfield, Illinois

Junior Senator from the great state of Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama, a young ‘rising star’ in the Democratic Party, announces his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama campaign signs revealed after announcing their candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Flashback, February 14th,  2007

Could this have taken place?

Leaders of the Democratic Party chatting with their brandy and cigars after a private Valentine’s Day Dinner?  (Location undisclosed).

  • We have a chance to keep the White House for 16 years.
  • Hillary for 8.
  • Give Obama a cabinet position of his choice.
  • Obama arrives in 2016 for another 8 years.
  • Let’s not forget, with Hill comes Bill.
  • Bill could be our Special Envoy/Advisor for Middle Eastern Affairs.
  • If anyone can reignite negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it’s Bill.
  • He did it once, he can do it again.
  • Obama’s Muslim heritage works in tandem with the former president.
  • Great opportunity to stabilize the Middle East.
  • Keep oil prices down.
  • Keep Russians out of the region.
  • Hillary, a woman candidate, it’ll rejuvenate the party.
  • Women of all ages will come out to vote.
  • It’s exciting.
  • Great publicity.
  • We’ll raise huge sums for our coffers.

Flashback,  January 28, 2008, American University, Washington D.C.

Every time I’ve been asked over the past year who I would support in the Democratic primary, my answer has always been the same: I’ll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires all of us.

With those words, the powerful and highly respected Senior Senator from the Great State of Massachusetts Ted Kennedy endorses Barack Obama, the young, intelligent, gifted, clever, inexperienced, dashing golden boy of the Democratic North Eastern Old Boys Club.

The savvy, brilliant, polished, experienced Hillary Clinton with her southern husband from the Great State of Arkansas is passed over.

Ted Kennedy’s decision appears to be vindictive and devoid of simple Party Logic and Common Sense.

It is by far the most misguided chauvinistic, misogynist, sexist insult and blunder in the history of the Democratic Party.

Historians, journalists and pundits will agree that this is an insurmountable lost opportunity.

Flashback, November 4, 2008

Barack Obama wins the election. He is the 44th President of the United States of America.

He offers his party rival, Senator Hillary Clinton the prestigious position of Secretary of State.

In her courageous and diplomatic capacity to leave the past where it belongs, when the President asks her to serve her country, Hillary Clinton graciously accepts.

In 2012 Obama wins his second term in office. Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton chooses not to serve in Obama’s second administration.


Top photo: On June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers are kidnapped at a bus/hitching stop by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas claims responsibility for the murders of Gilad Shaar (16), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Eyal Yifrach (19). Their bodies are found on June 30th, 2014. Bottom left: Upon hearing the air raid sirens, an Israeli family in the coastal city of Ashkelon, runs to a bomb shelter. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner). Bottom right: An Israeli woman consoles her exhausted and weary mother after arriving in a bomb shelter.

Flashback, July thru August 2014, Israel vs Gaza

During Obama’s second term, a major conflict erupts in Israel on the evening of June 12th 2014 when Palestinian terrorists kidnap three Israeli teenagers Gilad Shaar (16), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Eyal Yifrach (19).

Hamas proudly claims responsibility for both the kidnapping and subsequent murders.

The bodies of the three young men are found on June 30, 2014.

In retaliation, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon, with Chief of Staff Benny Gantz launch ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper.’ 350 West Bank Palestinians (mostly members of Hamas) are arrested.

And as the game goes on, Hamas must retaliate. They launch a series of rockets and missiles from Gaza into southern and central Israel.

These events trigger the seven-week ‘2014 Gaza War.’

It will be one of the deadliest confrontations in decades.

  • 67 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians are killed.
  • 469 soldiers and 87 civilians are wounded.
  • 2310 Gazans are killed, (65-70% are civilians).
  • 10,000 plus Gazans are wounded.


Top Photo: July 2014, a Gazan home is completely destroyed by the Israeli air force. (c) Muhammad Sabah and B’Tselem. Left Bottom: Hamas celebrates their 27th anniversary on December 14, 2014. They vow to destroy Israel. Bottom Right: a young Gazan boy dressed in military fatigues carries a toy weapon in the Hamas Parade. (Hamas Photos/AP).


Reflections on Syria 2011-2016

The Middle East is in trouble. It’s boiling with anger, frustration, revenge, retaliation.

Israelis and Palestinians remain in the never ending conflict of bloodshed, threats, revenge, terror attacks, retaliation. Women and children suffer the most.

In Syria and ISIS controlled areas, tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of Christian and non-Muslim women are being raped, murdered and forced into sexual slavery. Girls as young as 9 years of age are being sold to the highest bidder.

No one defends them. Not one world leader, not the United Nations nor Amnesty International. Not one women’s organization.

While Syria is being torn apart, President Obama deserts his own words that he uttered upon receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize . Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later.


Hisham Melhem, a widely respected Lebanese-American journalist writes an essay for the Winter 2016 issue of The Cairo Review of Global Affairs entitled Obama’s Tarnished Legacy in the Middle East.

Melhem points to Obama:  “…his own actions and inactions throughout two terms of office contributed significantly to the great unraveling of the Middle East.”

He goes even further to claim:  “Obama’s eagerness to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, and his indecisiveness about how to handle the crisis in Syria, led to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—the latest and most vicious of apocalyptic terror movements in modern times.”

Hisham Melhem doesn’t stop in his scathing review of Obama’s folly:  “Russia’s military intervention in Syria in 2015 on behalf of the Al-Assad regime is in part a result of President Obama’s dithering and inaction. A complex conflict has been made infinitely more difficult to resolve. The tragedy of Syria, perhaps above all else, will come to symbolize Obama’s tarnished legacy in the Middle East.”

In a heartbreaking state of despair, Hisham writes: “…If there are boulevards in hell, they will probably look like the Syrian streets reduced to rubble mostly by Al-Assad’s army. For all the brutality and the ritualistic killings and beheadings of ISIS, the Al-Assad regime’s systematic, industrial-scale barbarity is the single most destructive killing machine operating with impunity in Syria.


Published with Hisham Melhem’s essay in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs Winter 2016 Issue. Photograph of President Barack Obama with leaders of Arab Nations, Camp David May 14, 2015. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Associated Press). Melhem’s entire article is available online at: Hisham Melhem’s full article Obama’s Tarnished Legacy


On July 31, 2017 Susan B Glasser (chief international affairs columnist) publishes an article on Obama for the Politico Magazine. Her opening sentence, sums up it all up:

“Russia won in Syria thanks to President Barak Obama’s inaction. The Middle East unraveling of the past decade is due in no small part to America not listening to her allies in the region.”


Wednesday,  12th April 2023, Midnight, An Epilogue

Thunder and lightning, heavy rains, cold weather envelopes Israel as Mimouna celebrations continue well into the night. Another Passover Holiday is complete.

How would the Middle East look today if Ted Kennedy had endorsed Hillary Clinton and said to Barack Obama, “Be patient young man. For if you truly love America and the Democratic Party,  your turn will come in 8 years. History will be made when we hold the White House for 16 years and accomplish the seemingly impossible.”

In January 2008 I had the great pleasure of speaking to charismatic former President Bill Clinton. He was on the campaign trail stomping for his wife. And I was there to listen.

After his speech I stood in line with many well wishers. Shaking his hand I thanked him for his friendship, love and respect for Yitzchak Rabin. Bill thanked me and moved on as he continued to shake hands with the crowd.

To my surprise and delight, Bill Clinton came back to me. With tears in his eyes he said, “I truly loved Yitzchak Rabin and if he had lived, by 1998 there would have been two states living side by side.”

Dwelling on lost opportunities does not change the reality. Here are a few statistics from the Bibi Far Right Coalition under the ‘is he, isn’t he’ Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant:

January 1, 2023 thru 10th of April 2023:

  • 94 Palestinians killed by soldiers and settlers
    • 20 are between the ages of  12 – 19
    • 21 are between the ages of 20 – 29
    • 8 are over 30 years of age
    • 45 have not been identified by age

January 1, 2023 through 10th of April 2023

  • 17 Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists
  • 1 Israeli killed accidentally by a Civilian Security Guard
    • 7 killed in Neve Yaacov, East Jerusalem
    • 3 killed near Ramot
    • 2 killed near a settlement that sparked violence in the village of Huwara
    • 1 killed on the highway along the Dead Sea
    • 1 dies of wounds inflicted in a Tel Aviv terror attack
    • 2 sisters killed in a West Bank attack
    • 1 mother (of the two sisters) succumbs to her injuries

And during the same time period, under Bibi and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant the IDF accomplished:

  • 998 search and arrest operations in Palestinian villages and refugee camps in the West Bank
  • 278 Palestinian owned structures including 79 in East Jerusalem have been destroyed by the IDF

If only there were leaders on all sides of the conflict that truly wanted to pursue peace….

to be continued…


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!