Obama and the “peace process”

Jackson Diehl, the Washington Post’s deputy editorial page editor, has a piece about how President Obama has sabotaged the so-called Middle East peace process by introducing a new requirement that Israel institute a settlement freeze before talks can take place. Abbas cannot very well demand less than the American president so talks are at a standstill.

Now, I agree with Paul Mirengoff that this is fine. The “peace process” is pointless and counter-productive. There will be no peace until the Palestinians want it, and they manifestly do not. The Palestinians have never fulfilled a single one of their obligations under any of the peace plans (Oslo, Oslo 2, the Wye River memorandum, the Roadmap, etc.). Yasser Arafat spoke openly about how Oslo was merely a hudna (an Arabic word for pretending to make peace to obtain a strategic advantage). Palestinian terrorists continue to launch attacks against Israel, and the Palestinian government celebrates those attacks. Palestinian children’s programs teach children to hate Jews. And, in 2006, the Palestinian people elected Hamas in a landslide — a party whose constitution demands the destruction of Israel.

It’s popular to write that the outlines of a peace deal are clear (the Economist writes this all the time), and it’s true. The outlines of a reasonable deal are clear, to Western eyes. But the Palestinians don’t want the deal. Ehud Barak offered essentially that deal to Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000, but Arafat rejected the deal and made no counter-offer. Instead, he left the bargaining table and within days launched the Second Intifada.

All Israel’s efforts to make peace with the Palestinians have accomplished nothing other than to weaken Israel’s security and, probably, to leave the Palestinian people even more miserable. It would be best to put an end to them.

But Obama presumably believes none of this. So why is he sabotaging the peace talks? Is it mere incompetence, or worse, is he trying to make Israel look bad so he can cut off American support?

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