Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Obama Administration Learns the Basic Lesson on the Israel-Palestinian Issue

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
23 January '10

In contrast to its refusal to change course on Iran, the Obama administration has learned something about Israel-Palestinian peacemaking, conclusions clearly expressed in the government’s new talking points.

First, President Barack Obama stated recently that his administration had overestimated its ability to get the two sides into meaningful peace talks. Blaming both parties equally, Obama said the problem is that neither Israel nor the Palestinians were ready to take the bold steps necessary to succeed.

This is a recognition of reality and about the best that could be expected. Of course, it maintains a determined evenhandedness, failing to hint at the easily demonstrable fact that it was the Palestinians who were not interested in making any compromises, even refusing to come to the table at all. But evenhandedness is welcome from an administration that originally seemed set to become the most anti-Israel presidency in history.

The new perspective, at least its public version, does not note the administration’s own responsibility in raising Palestinian expectations that Washington would abandon Israel and give them everything they wanted. Two key points here were the administration’s early bashing of Israel combined with the silly obsession about freezing construction on settlements. The Obama administration also has repeatedly told the Palestinians that they “deserve” a state with no indication that they would have to earn it.

But as I said, this is the best to be expected.

(Read full article)

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