Commentary Magazine


A Bad Deal All Around

It’s hard to understand how either the U.S. or Israel gets much out of a proposed 90- day settlement moratorium, which Bibi is prepared to present to his cabinet. Yes, Obama is pleased that this shows Bibi is “serious,” but that is yet another bit of Obama condescension. Has Israel not shown that repeatedly — by entering into peace talks that inevitably increase killings of Jews and by multiple proposals to give the Palestinians their own state? It is true that, yes, Israel gets a bribe promise of 20 F-35s.

But both Israel and the U.S. are the worse for this deal. Bibi is merely perpetuating the myth that the negotiations are about settlements; after promising Israel would not extend the settlement freeze, he has now damaged his own credibility. Moreover, as a savvy Israel hand points out to me, “What surprises me is how little he gets out of this: much of what is promised is promised when peace comes, not now.” While it’s nice to get free F-35s, the Israelis could have purchased those additional planes without giving in on the settlement issue. And as for the promise to veto UN resolutions attacking Israel or declaring a Palestinian state, why should Israel have to give anything to Obama for simply adhering to past U.S. policy? My Israel guru remarks, “This shows the Obama mentality that we veto as a difficult favor for Israel, rather than out of principle.”

But, most important, the extension is at best a meaningless postponment of the inevitable — a refusal by the Palestinians to enter into and enforce a peace deal that would mark recognition of the Jewish state and cessation of Palestinian terrorism. Does anyone really imagine that another 90 days — or 90 weeks for that matter — will make any difference? The only result is a negative one for Israel, the U.S., and the West. Israel’s credibility is damaged, the non-peace talks (that continue to promote friction between the U.S. and Israel) are extended with virtually no chance of success, the world obsesses a little longer over the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and, meanwhile, those centrifuges keep spinning in Iran.

And will Israel get “credit” for this? Puleez. The” international community” and the left will holler that the freeze does not include East Jerusalem. Surely by now Bibi should know that capitulation never pays dividends for the Jewish state.