The AP characterized Obama’s comments on the Middle East “peace process” at the conclusion of the nuclear summit as “surprisingly downbeat.” But, given what’s been coming out of the White House these days, it was the best news Israel and its supporters have had in weeks – since the beginning of the contrived tizzy over a Jerusalem housing permit. It was, I’ll grant you, a bit of a surprise. A sliver of reality, it seems, has intruded into the Obami’s Israel policy. The AP reports:
The two sides “may say to themselves, ‘We are not prepared to resolve these issues no matter how much pressure the United States brings to bear,’” Obama said.
Obama reiterated that peace is a vital goal, but one that may be beyond reach “even if we are applying all of our political capital.”
Obama was responding to a question about whether the successful negotiation of a new arms control treaty with Russia and the agreements he won at this week’s nuclear summit could help him make gains elsewhere. His words are a recognition that although he pledged to work hard for a deal from his first day in office, Obama has gotten little traction in the decades-old conflict.
Now it’s not normally good news for Israel’s supporters when James “f*** the Jews” Baker is quoted by an American president. But in this case it was an improvement over what we’ve heard of late:
He added, “The truth is that in some of these conflicts, the United States cannot impose solutions, unless the participants in these conflicts are willing to break out of old patterns of antagonism.”
Quoting former US secretary of state James Baker, who served under George H.W. Bush, Obama said, “We can’t want it more than they do.”
So what happened to the “imposed peace plan” leaks — and the Zbigniew Brzezinski counsel? Did Bibi’s “forget it” response cause the Obami to back off? We don’t know, and we don’t know whether the talk of a potential imposed peace deal was merely another stunt to bully Israel. The threat of an imposed peace could very well have been the latest and maybe most harebrained gambit yet to get Bibi to do what he will not — cough up more concessions and strike a deal on Jerusalem that no prime minister would countenance.
So “poof” goes another short-sighted, and entirely unattainable, diplomatic move? Maybe. Or it may be back in some other form (i.e., a “bridging” proposal during proximity talks). But for now, it is a small sign (and a lesson for Israel and its supporters) that the Obami, like all bullies, can be chased off by a firm and unequivocal refusal to be intimidated.