Monday, March 05, 2012

Don't Blame Bush. Obama Owns The Mess In The Middle East Peace Process All By Himself

Hoenlein said that peace progress was likelier when there was "no daylight" between Israel and the United States. Obama agreed that it must always be clear that Israel has unalloyed U.S. support but added that for the past eight years, referring to the Bush administration, there was "no daylight and no progress."
At White House, U.S. Jews offer little resistance to Obama policy on settlements, JTA, July 13, 2009

And so Obama gave notice of the need for daylight between the US and Israel.

Still, as Rick Richman noted at the time, Obama's absurd claim that there was no progress on the peace progress during the Bush administration required deliberately ignoring the following:

  • After the Palestinians rejected an offer of a state at Camp David in 2000, rejected the Clinton Parameters in 2001, and conducted a terror war against Israeli civilians from September 2000-2002, Israel nevertheless agreed in 2003 to the “Performance-Based Roadmap” for the creation of a Palestinian state, despite reservations about the manner in which that plan would actually be implemented.

  • In 2003 and thereafter, Israel ceased all settlement activity — as it understood that Phase I Roadmap obligation (no new settlements; no building outside settlement boundaries; no financial incentives for Israelis to move to settlements) — and believed American officials agreed with its interpretation of that obligation.

  • In 2004, after the Palestinian Authority failed to meet its own Phase I Roadmap obligation (sustained efforts to dismantle terrorist groups and infrastructure), Israel nevertheless proposed to dismantle every existing settlement in Gaza (not just “outposts”), remove every Israeli soldier, and turn over the entire area to the Palestinian Authority — in exchange for a written American commitment to defensible borders and retention of the major settlement blocs necessary to insure them.

  • In 2005, after receiving the American commitment, Israel proceeded to carry out the Gaza disengagement, despite the political and social upheaval within Israel it caused, including the break-up of the ruling party and nationwide demonstrations, and – at State Department insistence – further dismantled four settlements (not just “outposts”) in the West Bank as well, to demonstrate the disengagement would be “Gaza First,” not “Gaza Last.”

  • In 2006, after the Palestinians elected their premier terrorist group to control their government, Israelis nevertheless re-elected Kadima on a platform of “convergence” (the new name for withdrawal from the West Bank), and would have carried it out but for the attacks by Hamas from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon that caused two wars and finally convinced Israelis further withdrawals were insane.

  • In 2007, despite the Palestinian failure to carry out its Phase I dismantlement obligation, and its categorical rejection of Phase II (a state with provisional sovereignty before Phase III final status negotiations), Israel agreed to proceed immediately to final status negotiations once again under the “Annapolis Process.”

  • Throughout 2008, Israel negotiated with its “peace partner” under the accelerated process, and offered 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) for a state, with concessions on other major issues, all of which were rejected.
Four months later, on November 17, 2009 was the first time the Obama pitted its accomplishments against those of the Bush administration--with disastrous results:
MR. KELLY (State Department Spokesman): I mean, we’re not – but it’s – we are less than a year into this Administration, and I think we’ve accomplished more over the last year than the previous administration did in eight years.

QUESTION: Well, I – really, because the previous administration actually had them sitting down talking to each other. You guys can’t even get that far.

MR. KELLY: All right.

QUESTION: I’ll drop it.

MR. KELLY: Give us a chance. Thank you, Matt.
And give them a chance we did--and we all know the results.
In the course of the Obama administration, the peace process came to a grinding halt.

It is no wonder that Obama focuses on what a great friend he claims to be of Israel. Considering the failure of his Middle East policy during the term of his presidency, what else does he have to talk about when it comes to the Middle East?

Obama may try to blame Bush for the mess in the Middle East peace process, but the fact is: this mess is one that Obama owns all by himself.

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