The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were inaugurated in Washington last week to much fanfare, resonating proclamations, manufactured hope and an opulent state dinner—this latter being rather more than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have come to expect after his miserly White House reception last March. Things, we are told, are going well. One recalls the old joke about a man falling from the 20th storey who says as he passes the 10th, so far so good.
Amidst all the inflated hype surrounding this farcical interlude, many observers remain doubtful, and for good reason. There have been innumerable such conferences before, but the only fruit they bore was shrivelled, desiccated and unpalatable. Sceptics very reasonably point to endemic Arab recalcitrance and pervasive Jew-hatred, to the absolute Palestinian refusal to offer meaningful concessions or to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and to the various unscaleable obstacles the Palestinians have erected, like the “right of return” of millions of so-called Palestinian “refugees” to Jewish territory which would put paid to the Zionist experiment in state building. The Arab and Muslim media and curriculum continue to inflame the multitudes with antisemitic (not just anti-Israeli) propaganda, the Palestinians name streets and public squares after terrorists, and PA prime minister Salam Fayyad, the “man of peace,” even as the latest round of peace talks got underway, lobbied for an international boycott of the Jewish state. What chance peace?
But the greatest impediment to the success of the current peace deliberations—i.e., a viable and pragmatic outcome—is not the Palestinians, refractory as they may be. It is Barack Obama himself. This most partisan and indiscrete of presidents has made it plain over the last few years that he has no love for the Jewish state. The checklist is definitive: his close association with antisemites like Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi and with anti-Zionists like Robert Malley, Samantha Power, John Brennan, Susan Rice and Zbigniew Brzezinsky; his awarding the Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, the human engine behind the infamous Durban anti-Israel hatefest; his fake paroxysm over building permits in Jerusalem, which had already been agreed upon, in order to back Israel into a diplomatic corner; his administration’s reneging on the 2004 Bush letter of understanding to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approving “secure, defensible borders”; his privileging of apostate Jewish anti-Zionist advocacy groups like J Street; his willingness to compromise with a genocidal Iranian mullocracy at Israel’s expense, under the guise of “sanctions” that will manifestly not have their stated effect of deterring Iran’s nuclear program; and his generous treatment of PA president Mahmoud Abbas in contrast to the hostility he has shown Netanyahu, to tally some of the more obvious items.
Obama and his entourage do not read the Charter documents of Hamas and Fatah in which Israel’s destruction is solemnly pledged. They do not read the translations of the speeches given by Arab leaders to their home audience in which their real, incendiary intentions are expressed. They do not compare the accomplishments of Israeli society in science, technology, agriculture, medicine and education, which materially benefit the world, with the dismal abortions in all these fields in Islamic society. Or if they do, this would render them far more cynical than merely obtuse. Obama and his cabal also ignore the fact that Hamas would not be a signatory to any hypothetical peace treaty, which means that half the “Palestinian nation” would abide in a state of war with the other half as well as with Israel. And so again, whither peace?
Moreover, as has been pointed out many times before, the Palestinians have no incentive to negotiate in good faith, knowing that Obama has turned the screws upon Israel, applied brutal pressure upon its leadership and smiled favorably upon the Palestinian camp. Therefore, they need only wait upon the sequel as the American president raises the bar on Israeli trade-offs, inflicts as much damage as he can upon both the Jewish state and its negotiating position, and quite feasibly paves the way toward a unilateral declaration of Palestinian sovereignty. Obama, as one blogger has written, is “a bad accident”—but not for the Palestinians.
It is evident to many people, including the Democrats, that Obama’s presidency is in a state of disarray. Indeed, it is a veritable shambles. Nearly every one of his “initiatives” in foreign policy and on the domestic front has been an embarrassing failure and people are increasingly hard-pressed to find a single redeeming feature in both his agenda and practice. His plummeting poll numbers and the likely scenario of a Democratic washout in the November congressional elections attest to the fact that Obama has lost the confidence of a majority of Americans and has brought his presidency, and his Party along with it, into utter disrepute.
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