I could almost pity President Obama for having his nose rubbed in the truth of Abraham Lincoln's famous statement if the mess wasn't so thoroughly of his own making.
President Obama got a friendly, if skeptical reception in Israel, because most Israelis are in fact pro-American.But Israelis, particularly sabras are noted for looking at deeds rather than words and schmooze.
While they appreciated President Obama's fine words on America's commitment to Israel as an ally, they also remember his previous hostility, his repudiation of agreements made with Israel by President Bush and his call for them to re-divide Jerusalem and retreat to indefensible borders.
And they notice that he chose to land in Tel Aviv rather than Israel's capitol Jerusalem, that he chose not address Israel's Knesset, that he was 'too busy' to meet personally with victims of Palestinian terrorism even if they hold American citizenship, that he refused to invite students at Ariel University to his speech to Israeli students...simply because their university is located in Judea ( AKA The West Bank), even though it's on land Jews purchased legally before Israel was even a state.
And many of them also noticed this map of Israel put out by Obama's State Department in spokesman Ben Rhodes' offical statement..that shows a map of Israel on the pre '67 lines, without the Golan, Judea and Samaria or East Jerusalem:
In the president's speech to Israeli students, he somehow forgot that over half a million Israelis (including a lot of the students he was speaking to) live in what he still refers to as 'settlements', saying that "Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable, that real borders will have to be drawn," and warning that Israel "must reverse an undertow of isolation".
In other words, Israel building homes and infrastructure for it's people - bad, hurts chances for peace. The Palestinian Authority's constant incitement against Jews, funneling donor aid to Hamas and using it to pay salaries to convicted killers in Israeli jails, holding up the murderers of Israeli civilians as role models and heroes? The actions of a peace partner!
Yes, that's the looking glass world our Narcissus lives in, where his warped perceptions become 'what everyone knows'.
Trying as usual to have it both ways, the president also said it was time for the Arab world to "take steps toward normalizing relations" with Israel and that "Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state, and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security".
How that's going to be accomplished with the borders he proposes the president did not elaborate on.And that's especially telling in view of the reception the president got in Ramallah from the Palestinians before he spoke to the students.
I'm not going to fault President Obama for speaking on a dais underneath a banner of Yasser Arafat, who had the blood of many Americans on his hands including two U.S. diplomats tortured to death on Arafat's orders.Everything was already in place, cancelling the speech unless the banner was removed would have been a moral decision of the kind President Obama has always avoided, and at least he didn't go to Arafat's grave and lay a wreath on it. But I have to wonder, in my heart of hearts whether the president realized the contempt this showed for America and for him personally.
President Obama admitted that what he calls settlements were "frustrating", but also said in a previous press conference that Israel has taken risks for peace and that Palestinian leaders "have at times missed historic opportunities".
And for the first time, President Obama actually criticized the Palestinian stance of demanding that all of their demands be met before any 'negotiations' take place.
"If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there's no point in negotiations. It's essential to work through this process even if we have concerns on both sides. We can push through these things, not use them as excuses not to do anything."
Abbas' response was to double down.
Abbas referred to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as a "hurdle and ignoble" and that their existence was killing the two-state solution.
"Everybody considers settlements more than a hurdle toward a two-state solution," he said. The security council issued more than 13 resolutions, not only condemning settlements but demanding ending and removing them because they're illegal. We're demanding nothing other than the implementation of international law. The issue of settlements in clear."
Actually, it isn't at all clear unless you take a highly selective view of what constitutes 'international law' but let's move on.
Abbas is actually speaking out of his anger towards President Obama. Before the president made an issue out of construction in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria and called for Israel to retreat to the indefensible pre '67 borders, it was never an issue that stopped negotiations and Abbas and the PA never thought to make it a serious one.
However, once President Obama opened his mouth on the subject, Abbas saw no reason to be less demanding than President Obama. And because of President Obama's hostile actions towards Israel and his vastly increased jizya to the Palestinians, Abbas expected President Obama to deliver the Israelis on a silver platter:
These numbers also don't include $450 million that went directly to Hamas through USAid courtesy of the president, but you get the idea.
When President Obama wasn't able to deliver the Jews, Abbas angrily went public, saying President Obama had 'left him up a tree' and has ceased to trust him or even listen to him ever since. And why should he? The Palestinians have yet to suffer any consequences whatsoever from the Obama White House for their actions.
And it wasn't just Mahmoud Abbas.The Palestinians actually tried to wave away his helicopter, Marine One, as it landed in Ramallah and there was an anti-American demonstration, with Palestinians chanting hostile slogans, throwing shoes, burning President Obama in effigy and yelling that they wanted weapons to kill the Jews, not speeches or presidential visits. It's also notable that according to my sources on the ground, the PA security forces did absolutely nothing to curtail the demonstrators.They merely contained them.
Needless to say, you won't read that in the American ObamaMedia.
Let's just say that President Obama's charm offensive was even less effective with the Palestinians than it was with the Israelis.
President Obama seems to have belatedly realized exactly how badly he bungled things. In an interview this morning he admitted he might have made a few mistakes.
"I hope I'm a better president now than when I first came into office," Mr Obama said.
"I'm absolutely sure that there are a host of things that I could have done that would have been more deft and, you know, would have created better optics."
'Optics'? What this translates into when it comes to action is anyone's guess.
Is President Obama actually starting to belatedly realize that the Palestinians are not our friends, that they're essentially revanchist and not interesting in negotiating anything?
I strongly doubt it, but anything's possible.
UPDATE: Uh, no..Situation normal. Aside from overriding Congress to give the Palestinians yet a another half a billion dollars, President Obama, as a parting shot, manipulated Israeli PM Netanyahu into a craven apology to the president's favorite Islamist leader, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for the attack on Israeli Naval commandos on the Mavi Mamara.