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Saturday, April 26, 2014
Obama's Middle East Muddle
The push for Mideast peace in which President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have invested hundreds of precious hours and priceless political capital didn’t just fizzle, but imploded spectacularly — scarring America’s credibility on the world stage and putting Israel, if possible, in a more precarious position than before.
Those facts became glaringly obvious with the announcement this week that the relatively moderate, allegedly peace-seeking Palestinian Authority will seek to form a unity government with the rejectionist, terrorist Hamas.
The U.S. strategy was dubious from the get-go. Beginning last June and intensifying in January, Obama and Kerry consistently squeezed Israel — leaning on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlements and release convicted Palestinian terrorists — while placing almost no pressure on the other side of the table.
That asymmetry is dishonest, and dangerous.
Meantime, in a profoundly boneheaded move, Obama and Kerry lent credibility to the worldwide movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the Jewish state, by claiming that failure to broker peace would have stark consequences for Israel (and apparently none for the Palestinians).
“The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott,” Kerry said in February. “That will intensify in the case of failure.” Obama echoed the sentiment in March.
Beyond the failure to make progress down the path of peace, here are the rotten fruits of the stupid, scrambled strategy:
PA boss Mahmoud Abbas, refusing even to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, has returned to the UN in a unilateral effort to join 15 international organizations and treaties. That move will further aggravate future efforts to reach a negotiated deal.
The Palestinian Authority has rushed into the arms of Hamas, the radical terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip and remains dedicated to Israel’s total destruction. There could be no clearer sign of Palestinians’ flat unwillingness to make any difficult choices that would advance bilateral negotiations.