First taxes, now Israeli settlements. Reuters has the report:
The United States on Tuesday abandoned its effort to persuade Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements, officials said, dealing a blow to efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
But Obama’s capitulation wouldn’t have dealt a blow to anything, had he not made the initial, amateurish, demand. As I noted a few days ago:
Two years ago, Obama insisted that Israel halt building settlements as a precondition for peace talks — making the Palestinians dig in, wondering what other concessions Obama might force on the Israelis.
As it turns out, the President couldn’t even get that much out of the Israelis, not even after offering hi-tech bribes to get a temporary halt to the settlements. In diplomacy, never publicly demand anything the other guy isn’t willing to give — unless you have the means and the will to compel him.
This is pretty basic stuff, and it’s embarrassing for us to have a leader with so much egg on his face.