The One sandbags Israel over its settlement freeze....
When Israel agreed to a 10-month partial settlement freeze last year, U.S. officials said it was exactly what they needed to get talks with the Palestinians started. They whispered that they were sure the freeze would be extended; Israel wouldn't dare curtail the negotiations by ending it.
Read that last sentence again: Team Obama bullied Israel into a purportedly temporary stance it intended to keep Israel in permanently. Newly installed in office, President Obama was confident his prestige with his American supporters would sustain his ability to keep heavy diplomatic pressure on Israel.
Incredibly, as posted by Commentary Blog's Evelyn Gordon, we learn that a new Ramallah-based group's poll shows that Palestinians care little about the settlement issue. They care most about the economy, followed by a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. The bottom two rungs? Settlements, at 6.4 percent; and Jerusalem, at 4.9 percent.
EG quotes a 2003 Pew Global Attitudes Survey that reveals sharply diverging attitudes re the Arab - Israeli conflict (italics mine):
More broadly, the postwar survey asked people their views on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. By wide margins, most Muslim populations doubt that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights and needs of the Palestinian people are met. Eight-in-ten residents of the Palestinian Authority express this opinion. But Arabs in Israel, who voice the same criticisms of U.S. policy in the Middle East as do other Muslims, generally believe that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that Palestinian rights and needs are addressed. In fact, Arabs in Israel are nearly as likely as Jews to hold that opinion (62% of Arabs, 68% of Jews).
Outside of the Muslim world, there is general agreement that there is a way to ensure Israel’s existence and meet the needs of Palestinians. This view is widely shared in North America and Western Europe.
What makes matters even worse is this: Team Obama has jettisoned onto the ash-heap of history the April 14, 2004 diplomatic letter exchange between then-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon & then-President Bush. The upshot: Israeli PM Netanyahu has asked the Obama administration to put the President's promises of goodies in writing, in order to sell a 90-day partial settlement freeze extension to his top security folks and to the Knesset. True, President Bush did issue a letter guarantee over settlements in writing in 2004, but that was to get Israel to pull unilaterally out of Gaza; Bibi wants a written pledge that the 90-day added partial freeze is just that, 90 days. Israeli officials, it seems, read the Washington Post.
The WP also reports that Israeli officials fear that failure of peace talks to bear fruit quickly will cause the West Bank government to collapse, and put Hamas in control on the West Bank. Alas, such are the fruits of The One's manic obsession with Israeli settlements, creating a roadblock to bilateral talks that had never existed prior to 2009.
So Obama makes a huge issue out of something that the intended beneficiary population, the Palestinians, cares little about. It then betrays America's most reliable Mideast ally--indeed, its only truly reliable ally in the region. And apparently Team Obama thinks other allies will not notice this--let alone, other adversaries.
Bottom Line. Our President lied to a key ally. Is it any wonder that Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu distrusts him? Lying to an ally is never a good thing. Doing so to benefit an enemy--the Palestinians, WHO CHEERED THE 9/11 ATTACKS--is a fool's errand. THE VICTIM--MORE THAN ISRAEL ITSELF--WILL BE AMERICAN CREDIBILITY IN THE MIDEAST.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, 9/11, National Security, Terrorism, Homeland Security, Foreign Policy, Conservative Politics