David Ignatius explains that the Obama administration’s fixation with Israeli settlements is fully embraced by Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, all of whom show little sympathy for the obvious inability of the Israeli government to control natural growth within its settlements. But even if one did not object to the U.S. reneging on past agreements or to its “dictating” to a supposedly close friend, there is a hitch. Ignatius explains:
The Obama team is assuming that if it can pressure Israel into a real settlements freeze, the Arabs will respond with meaningful moves toward normalization of relations — which will give Israel some tangible benefits for its concessions. But that hope appears to be misplaced.
Oh, so the whole thing is wildly realistic and destined to fail? Well, yes. Like the Soviets of old who airbrushed out inconvenient reminders of bygone eras, the president can entirely excise out sixty years of Palestinian rejectionism from his Cairo speech. But he can’t change reality. Even if Netunyahu set up an “apartment police” and every East Jerusalem add-on apartment were torn up and every settlement removed, there still would be no viable interlocutor to negotiate with Israel and no expressed desire by the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state. So what then is the point of beating up on our ally?
You’ve got me. It is the triumph of ideology over reality. And it is evidence as to just how deceitful was Obama’s campaign rhetoric with regard to Israel and the Middle East. We know what he said then. It bears no resemblance to the current approach. Had he revealed his hand during the campaign certainly then-candidate Clinton, who professed to be a great friend of Israel, would have seized on the issue.
But now they are together, joined at the hip in their hostility and their futile effort to bludgeon Israel in the hopes it will bring about peace. While they are contemplating what happened to their grand plans for engagement with Iran they might also want to rethink this approach to Israel. And those who believed Obama’s professed understanding and empathy for the plight of Israel can decide if it is time to stop making excuses and begin to openly criticize and oppose the administration’s wholly misguided policies.