Obama's 'Arab-First' Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process is a Bust

Obama's 'Arab-First' Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process is a Bust

A recent report in the Washington Post clearly shows how our once robust relationship with Israel has fallen to pieces under Obama. And it also shows how Obama’s attempts to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinians has failed miserably.

According to the report, Obama has approached the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a way that hinged on Israel’s capitulation from the start. Marked by political stunts, as in May 2009 when Obama stood before cameras with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the the Oval Office and said, “Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.”  This was the first time Obama had made such a demand of Netanyahu, and he did it in front of the world. Then, almost two years later to the day, Obama added that Israel needed to return to pre-1967 borders.

At this same time, May 2011, Obama re-framed his floundering peace efforts in the worst way possible. As reported in the Washington Post, he literally equated Israeli settlements with rockets that Palestinians fire into Israel every chance they get. He said the tensions between Israel and Palestine force Israelis to “live with the fear that their children could be blown up on a bus or by rockets,” while Palestinians suffer the “humiliation of occupation.”

If you tilted your head to the side when you read that equivocation, you’re not alone. It’s nearly impossible to understand how an educated person could equate Israeli settlements with Palestinian terrorists blowing up buses and still expect Israel to remain at the negotiating table. But it all becomes much easier to understand when we remember the mindset of the advisers who help Obama with foreign policy strategies. 

Early in this failed process, Obama said of Rahm Emanuel: “We understand there is a profound political edge to Israeli politics. Rahm understands the politics there and he explains them to me.” 

Someone should have told Emanuel that our ally, the Israelis, don’t like to be equated with terrorists. He could have passed that on to Obama.