President Obama met with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority at the White House today, but all the pressure was on Israel, as The New York Times notes:
“President Obama called on Israelis and Palestinians on Thursday to move swiftly toward peace talks, as his administration embarked on its first public dispute with Israel.
“Speaking to reporters at the White House after talks with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Obama said that the absence of peace between Israelis and Palestinians was clogging up other critical issues in the Middle East. ‘Time is of the essence,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘We can’t continue with the drift and the increased fear on both sides, the sense of hopelessness that we’ve seen for too many years now. We need to get this thing back on track.’
“Mr. Obama reiterated his call for a halt to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and said he expected a response soon from President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.”
And this gem of strategy:
“Officials close to the Palestinian Authority said that Mr. Abbas’s meetings in Washington with administration officials—including Mrs. Clinton and the National Security Adviser, General James L. Jones—have been more amicable. That could reflect the view in Washington that Mr. Abbas does not have the political weight at the moment to push through anything on the Palestinian side.
“Part of the reason administration officials are pushing the Israelis on settlements is that they think that stance will bolster Mr. Abbas with an increasingly fractured Palestinian population.”
COMMENT: Yeah, right. If Israel gives on settlements, Hamas and Hezbollah will just melt into the woodwork and start singing selections from “Fiddler on the Roof.”
I’m no big fan of Israeli settlements, but the notion that they are somehow blocking peace is delusional. Israeli abandoned all its settlements in Sinai when Egypt made peace. It abandoned all its settlements in Gaza when it pulled out. Neither made much difference with the Arab militants sworn to destroy Israel.
This is Jimmah Carter land. The pressure on Israel comes the day that we learn that Queen Elizabeth II has been excluded from D-Day ceremonies with Mr. Obama in France, and a week before we start requiring passports from Canadians wanting to enter the U.S.
Any pressure on enemies? Well, we must understand them. They may not have the “political weight” to do things. We must be tolerant. We must be…
Remember that North Korean nuclear test? It’s already off the front pages.
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