Obama is, moreover, doing this at a time when Israel’s ostensible peace partner, the Fatah-aligned Palestinian Authority, is supposed to finalize next week its unity government with Hamas, which the U.S. (along with Canada and the EU) officially defines as a terrorist organization.

No doubt Hale and Ross are making last-ditch efforts to dissuade the PA leaders from taking that step, just as the U.S. hopes to dissuade them from going to the UN in September. The problem is that, under Obama, that effort takes the form of bribery and appeasement at an ally’s expense.

As Obama said in his supposedly conciliatory speech to AIPAC on May 22:

There’s a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one, not just in the Arab World — in Latin America, in Asia, and in Europe. And that impatience is growing, and it’s already manifesting itself in capitals around the world.

These are the words of someone so deeply sympathetic to the Palestinians that he can’t really take them to account for anything, ascribing their actions to a frustrated commitment to peace. Not surprisingly, then, Obama endorses their view that any Israeli presence in the lands it obtained in the 1967 war for survival is illegitimate, having shown that by:

  • Telling a Cairo audience that all Israeli “settlements” must stop
  • Creating a severe diplomatic ruckus over Israeli building plans even in “East Jerusalem”
  • Having UN Ambassador Susan Rice excoriate settlements as “illegitimate” last February (as payback for vetoing a Palestinian attempt to get them declared illegal)
  • And now finally “coming clean,” one might say, by making a full Israeli withdrawal from the post-1967 lands the official U.S. position

Note also that Obama’s talk of “swaps” in no way mitigates the gravely anti-Israeli nature of that position, since it means that even for retaining a sacred site like the Western Wall — which is over the 1967 lines — Israel would have to give up something in return. Again, this is the Fatah and Hamas view: that Israel has no inherent right to any of the land that is supposed to be in dispute.

Some say Netanyahu shouldn’t be fazed by the latest pressures since, with Congress opposed to Obama’s tack, they’re more bark than bite. Whether or not Congress can really contain Obama at this point, to think of what he could do in an unfettered second term is chilling.