The Israelis can’t figure out U.S. policy. For that matter, who can? he writes:
First came an instant attitude of hostility on the part of the Obama administration toward Israel’s new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, even before he had taken office on March 31 and despite his efforts to create a centrist coalition. Second came its obsession with a “settlement freeze,” which in fact was a demand for something that no Israeli prime minister of any party could possibly agree to — a complete and immediate freeze on construction not only in every settlement (including those Israel will obviously keep in any final-status agreement) but also in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Third came the demand that Arab states reach out to Israel, a demand that the president himself delivered to the king of Saudi Arabia in a visit there in June and that, predictably, was rejected immediately.Read the whole thing.
Fourth came the administration’s handling of the Palestinian leadership, which it pulled out onto the “settlement freeze” limb — for how could any Palestinian leader be less insistent on a total freeze than the Americans were? This meant that when the Obama team faced reality and dropped the freeze demand in favor of a call for “restraint,” the Palestinians out on that limb were simply sawed off. Later, when American diplomats prevailed upon the Palestinian leadership not to ask the U.N. Human Rights Council to approve the Goldstone Report on Israeli conduct during the Gaza War, they added insult to injury. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas seems to have accepted U.S. demands and instructed his delegation at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to cool it, a move that won him unprecedented unpopularity at home. He should have said no and simply told the U.S. to veto anything that arose in the Security Council, but the U.S. should not have pushed him.
...The net result of the administration’s approach is a massive policy failure. The Obama administration has weakened the Palestinian leadership it meant to strengthen, weakened the alliance with Israel by its hostility to Israel’s government, weakened its own reputation in Arab capitals for strength and reliability, and painted itself into a policy corner. For where does it go now?
Well, how about doing what Obama claimed he would do in Iraq? Withdraw from that area of the Middle East, claim that the foundation has been set for future talks--and proclaim victory!