President-elect Obama has been quiet, indeed mute, on the events in Gaza. Ehud Barak nevertheless invoked the President-elect’s campaign comments today:
Earlier Monday, in the face of catcalls from Arab lawmakers, Barak told a stormy Knesset session that the operation in Gaza will be “widened and deepened as necessary.”
“We have an all-out war against Hamas and its kind,” Barak said, using a term he has employed in the past to describe a long-term struggle against Israel’s Islamist enemies.
Barak also cited a comment made by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who visited Sderot during his election campaign earlier this year.
“Obama said that if rockets were being fired at his home while his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything he could to prevent it,” Barack told the plenum.
The defense minister went on to say that Israel is engaged in a “war to the bitter end” against Hamas in Gaza.
Well, let’s hope that the President-elect hasn’t changed his mind. Come to think of it, it’s a clever gambit by Barak to make it that much more difficult for Obama to do so. It is perhaps the first serious lesson for the President-elect in the true importance of words. They do indeed matter and should not be invoked or discarded lightly, and the audience for a President or a candidate is the international community, not merely the domestic electorate.