Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement of big building plans for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria give President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry their golden opportunity to dump their self-defeating peace process before it makes their foreign policy look almost as pitiful as it is.
“We are not going to make peace for the Israelis and the Palestinians, Obama and Kerry have said over and over again.”
The truth is they have been lying through their teeth. They have turned almost every trick in the book to pressure Netanyahu to cave in on almost all of Abbas’ demands, but they also have done the same to Abbas to back off at least an inch.
Their typical American misunderstanding of anything east of Atlantic City and west of San Diego, make that Hawaii, never has more apparent since the war in Vietnam. The only difference is that the ungodly number of casualties of American soldiers in the war finally forced a bit of common sense in Washington, which ended the debacle in 1973. The Obama administration has stubbornly hung on to the peace process to maintain its dubious diplomatic dominance in the Middle East.
Abbas’ insistence to ditch the failed negotiations, which were a charade to disguise his eventual ultimatum, royally ticked off President Obama. But he couldn’t very well kiss off a decades-old peace process project without making Israel share the blame.
Netanyahu almost gave him enough opportunities to do so with previous building projects in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority.
May of the “projects” for new homes were the same ones announced several times, each time representing a different bureaucratic process in the nightmare to build a home in Israel, but that doesn’t matter. Headlines are headlines, and the U.S. State Dept. is more interested in its own agenda of illusions than it is in facts on the ground.
The timing never was right for Obama, and the projects for homes in Jews never represented a sweeping change in the off-and-ion de fact freeze on developing Judea and Samaria for Jews.
All of that has changed. New roads, a “boardwalk” in Gush Etzion, parks and a host of other projects, whether they ever get off the ground or not, give Obama the excuse he needs to state, “We have said all along that it is up the Israeli and the Palestinians to decide if they want the peace process to succeed.”
The funny or unfunny part is that once upon a time, most Israelis and Arabs wanted the peace process to go ahead, with reasonable compromises on both sides. Thanks to Washington’s stubbornness, even the center-leftists in Israel know that there is no sense in making another agreement that simply is a basis for another war. On the Arab side, the word compromise is not in their vocabulary. That is how they lost the wars.
The American lack of understanding of the Middle East culture, and especially of the Arab mind, forced Abbas into his no-compromise stand. Previous U.S. administrations have given the Arab world so many concessions they simply whetted their insatiable appetite for more and more.
Israel, whether under Barak, Sharon, Olmert of Netanyahu, repeatedly buckled under, However, the United States never understood that you can push Israel up against the wall, and when you do, watch out.
Washington is not used to Israel saying “no,” but the threat of breaking up Jerusalem is too much even for center-left Israelis.
Given the impossibility of Abbas returning from his one-way street to the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian Authority state, and given Netanyahu’s fantastic nose for smelling a political opportunity, the timing could not have been better for him to declare “game over.”