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The Consequences of Obama's Israel Policy   September 30th, 2009
This is why you don't betray allies, and definitely not in public       


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As I wrote last week, publicly throwing Israel under the bus was a bad strategic move. And now, a week later, Obama is being shown why.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been told by his Fatah movement that he must not resume peace talks unless Israel freezes its settlement construction, a senior Fatah member said Wednesday.

Fatah's position could help Abbas stand up to U.S. pressure to return to talks with Israel.

What U.S. pressure? Last week Obama essentially stated that the U.S. had capitulated to Fatah's position when he announced that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

There's no U.S. pressure on the Palestinians. There is only U.S. pressure on Israel to capitulate. And that public statement has clearly emboldened Fatah to force the Palestinian president to reject peace talks until Israel accepts one of its key demands.

This was predictable. In fact, I did. I wrote: "This sends the wrong message to terrorists who now know that if they keep up their tactics long enough, eventually there will be a world leader weak enough to give in. It sends the wrong message to the enemies of Israel... Israel is at greater risk today, and so are we."

This has now been proven correct. Obama's bold pronouncements against Israeli settlements has now emboldened Israel's enemies to make those settlements a precondition of any peace talks. What was previously a matter to be discussed at the negotiations is now being considered a precondition for negotiations. Why? Because President Obama came out in a silly U.N. speech and took a position that apparently he and his advisers had not completely thought through.

Obama's was a position that would only work if Israel had simply rolled over and accepted it. But, not surprisingly, they didn't.

And now peace talks are even less likely.

Good work, Mr. President.

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