John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Christmas Crisis

Posted on December 27, 2008



            The homing instinct is strong when you want to beat the Christmas rush. 


            We arrived home this morning around 5 am, after the  start of the 12 hour drive was delayed six hour by a closed Indiana Toll Road.  We wasted an hour at a McDonald’s playground right on the border of Indiana and Illinois, and then at my mother’s house after we gave up on the closed Indiana Toll Road.


            An ice storm closed down Northern Indiana and Illinois, and the response of the Indiana Toll authority was predictably slow.  Predictable because this ice storm hit the day after Christmas, when government workers are just a little slower to react to a crisis.


            My crisis wasn’t anything like the crisis that hit the Middle East.  Was I dreaming or did we just see stories the day before about how peace reigned in Bethlehem, as tourists (or pilgrims) flocked to the local shops as the Palestinian proprietors looked on smiling.


            The Palestinians aren’t smiling now.  Israel gave Barack Obama a nice birthday present by launching its biggest attack on Gaza in decades, shocking the peace of the season.  They might have had ample reason to attack Hamas, but the timing was kind of curious.


            President-elect Obama, happy to show his pecs and abs in earlier photographs on his trip to Hawaii, probably wasn’t that happy about this Christmas season interruption.   Worse for the new President is that this is only the first of many times that he will be disappointed by Israel.


            The power outage in Hawaii could be a signal of things to come for the U.S.-Israel relationship.  Bush has significant leverage over the Israelis because he was seen as being so much in their corner.  When the President condemned Israeli action, it meant something because he so rarely disagreed with them.


            Obama, despite his erstwhile Chief of Staff, former IDF volunteer Rahm Emanuel, will likely be more even handed in his approach to the Middle East conflict.  He probably won’t invade Iran, for example. 


            That makes this Boxing Day raid of Gaza so significant.  It is the Israeli way of saying Merry Christmas to BHO.  I don’t think the President-elect will be able to return the gift.

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