Obama in Israel: AP Buries the Lede

Read the first two graphs of the latest Associated Press dispatch by Julie Pace and Matthew Lee from Obama’s trip to Israel:

President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned appeal Thursday for Israel to recognize that compromise will be necessary to achieve lasting security and to take steps to reverse an “undertow” of international isolation that is worsened by its failure to make peace with the Palestinians. Militants again underscored Israel’s vulnerability by firing rockets into a southern border town.

Obama declared anew that Israeli expansion of housing settlements in disputed territory only hinders chances for fruitful negotiations with the Palestinians, but he did not say as he has in the past that they must be halted.


First of all, the militants did hardly anything of significance, but ignore that for the moment. Also, leave aside the tedious pieties about the necessity of compromise. When was it not necessary? The real bombshell is in the second paragraph, not in the first where it belonged. Obama did not say settlement construction must cease.

I am privy to absolutely no inside information on this, but that is a rather amazing omission, considering it comes from Barack Obama. Has he learned from his own recent history when Israel stopped such construction for nine months in the hopes the Palestinians would negotiate — and they didn’t?

Maybe he is beginning to understand what many of us long realized — that the Palestinians do not want a two-state solution. If they did, they would have had a state of their own years ago. The parameters of a compromise have been known literally for decades, down to the street.

Paradoxically, anyone who truly wants a two-state solution would turn their backs on the Palestinians until they actually do something about it. Tough love. Who knows if they would understand it, but nothing else has worked.


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