This is the attitude that Barack Obama is taking with him on his first official visit to Israel as president.
When President Obama was asked by a group of Arab-American leaders during a meeting last week on why he did not intend to launch a new peace process, the leader said that Israel was not ready to make concessions, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, cited an official, who was present at the high-level meeting, as saying.
The official, who kept his identity anonymous, said the U.S. leader was frustrated with fruitlessness of the peace process, claiming it would be pointless to pressure the Israeli government at this time.
Obama arrives on Wednesday for his first trip to the region as president.
Now, the president’s comment is being filtered by someone who is hiding behind anonymity. But it fits with just about everything else he has said and done as president. Obama began his Middle East policy with the 2009 Cairo speech, in which he apologized for past US policy and signaled a tilt away from Israel and toward the Arab powers. The Arab Spring followed the next year, and Obama helped topple secular tyrannies when it was obvious they would be replaced with, at best, anarchy and at worst, Islamist tyrannies. We’re getting the former in Libya and the latter in Egypt. Both end up empowering Israel’s (and America’s) worst enemies. In May 2011 Obama called for Israel to retreat back to within its pre-1967 borders. If that’s the concession that he’s still seeking, he will leave office frustrated: Israel cannot and will not make that concession. It’s unrealistic to expect them to.
Obama is now evidently communicating to Muslim leaders that he remains tilted away from Israel, and is expecting concessions of them without expecting the Islamic and Islamist states to modify their behavior. Dangerous stuff.