Obama ignores the real Middle East crisis to focus on Israel settlements that are killing no one

The Week:
The Obama administration is spending its waning days in the White House antagonizing its closest Middle East ally. First, there was the U.S.'s recent decision to forego vetoing a U.N. resolution that disclaims Israel's rights to the territory it won in the 1967 war, including Judaism's holiest site. Then, there was John Kerry's speech denouncing Israel's settlement activity.

It's difficult to read these decisions as anything but an expression of spite.

Syria is on fire. Iraq is on fire. Yemen is on fire. Iran is brazenly flouting its nuclear deal. Russia, a geopolitical antagonist, has emerged as a major power-broker in the region. It is making friends with Turkey, formally a U.S. ally but one that is drifting every day. Sunni Gulf states are, as always under the Obama administration, incandescent. And he wants to pick a fight over Israeli settlements? Really?

The two-state solution is dead. That this may be a deplorable fact does not make it any less of a fact. There is no one to make a state with. Gaza is in the control of Hamas. In the West Bank, the Palestinian leader Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and his Fatah party are completely delegitimized and only continue to exist because they are propped up by the West. Yes, Israel has grown weary of the peace process, but not for incomprehensible reasons. In 2001, at the Taba Summit, Israel offered former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat virtually everything the Palestinians could dream of, and in response got the Second Intifada. In 2005, Israeli general Ariel Sharon withdrew from Gaza, and what Israel got in response were rocket attacks. Anybody who doesn't draw a paycheck from pretending that the two-state solution is alive recognizes that the two-state solution is in fact dead.

While John Kerry's recent temper tantrum is the result of his and Obama's evident frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's character and decisions, the Obama administration's own stance toward settlements has been foolish and reckless. As Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, ably points out, Obama's decision to make a total settlement freeze a precondition of final status negotiations was unprecedented and self-defeating. "Settlements" include outposts deep into the West Bank, as well as leafy Jerusalem suburbs that would likely be part of Israel in any final settlement. A freeze makes no sense, except if one is just interested in bashing Israel.
There is more.

The UN is also proving the Obama is not alone in this insanity.  The Palestinians have nothing of value to offer the Israelis in a deal anyway.  They could not produce peace with Israel even if they were willing to sign a deal.  They can't control Hamas which is made up of genocidal religious bigots or any of the other Islamic terror groups and a two-state solution would do nothing to stop them.  It is a fantasy that is well past its sell-by date.


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