Charles Krauthammer, like many slack-jawed observers, notes that Obama’s “don’t dictate” rule applies to every country on the planet and every issue except Israel and its West Bank and Jerusalem settlements. And to compound the double standard, the administration refuses to announce whether it will abide by the 2004 U.S. letter of understanding confirming this would be a final status issue. (I think we can assume the U.S. is not keeping its end of that bargain; hence the haranguing.) Krauthammer writes:
The entire “natural growth” issue is a concoction. Is the peace process moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren? It is perverse to make this the center point of the peace process at a time when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert’s peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode — waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave — before he’ll do anything to advance peace.
This of course is not helpful in the least if one fantasizes about a peace process. But neither is Obama’s lackadaisical attitude toward Iran’s nuclear ambitions helpful if one wants to pursue nonproliferation and encourage risk-taking for peace. Forget Israel for a moment; aren’t the Arab states now rushing to figure out how to match Iran in a new, lethal arms race?
Rather than build confidence in the region Obama has spread anxiety and emboldened Israel’s foes to do what they have perfected over 60 years — just wait it out, foment the grievances of the Palestinian people and console themselves that furnished basements in Jerusalem are the moral equivalent of exploding buses.
Obama is all about honesty, he says. Well, he either honestly believes his distorted retelling of history or he’s doing this because he’s out of options. An honest explanation would have been that he hasn’t a clue how to stop the Iranians from getting nuclear weapons and he can’t begin to solve the Hamas-Fatah problem — so beat up on Israel. And when that doesn’t work (because the notion of stopping natural growth of neighborhoods in a democratic society is hooey) at least he can argue it was through no fault of his that we don’t have peace in our time. There is that problem of the nuclear-armed state sponsor of terror. . . Ah well, other continents must be apologized to so we’ll think about that another time.