I’m going to say some time in mid-May. It’s going to take about that long for Palestinian terrorists – to the extent that they can be distinguished from either Palestinian ‘government’ – to internalize this new ‘weak horse’ stance of the United States:
…Mr Obama was less inclined to be so conciliatory. He immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.
When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.”
As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. “I’m still around,” Mr Obama is quoted by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. “Let me know if there is anything new.”
U.S. pressure on Netanyahu will be needed if the peace process ever reaches the point where the genuinely contentious issues, like Palestinian refugees or the exact territorial tradeoffs, are on the table. But instead of waiting for that moment and pushing Netanyahu on a point where he might be vulnerable to domestic challenge, Obama picked a fight over something that virtually all Israelis agree on, and before serious discussions have even begun. As the veteran Middle East analyst Robert Malley put it to The Post’s Glenn Kessler, “U.S. pressure can work, but it needs to be at the right time, on the right issue and in the right political context. The administration is ready for a fight, but it realized the issue, timing and context were wrong.”
A new administration can be excused for making such a mistake in the treacherous and complex theater of Middle East diplomacy. That’s why Obama was given a pass by many when he made exactly the same mistake last year. The second time around, the president doesn’t look naive. He appears ideological — and vindictive.
A lot of people seem to believe that this is part of a larger foreign policy shift; unfortunately, it’s not. The only real question on motivation is whether this is due to a petty elemental loathing of the President’s, or due to a perceived need to pander to the petty elemental loathing of the progressive movement on an issue that Obama is uninterested in anyway. It’s a domestic issue either way; and if you find that odd, that’s because you grew up in a country where its President could be relied to understand that American popular opinion generally heavily favors supporting functioning multi-party democracies. Particularly ones with a hard-earned military reputation.
But this President really doesn’t care much about what you think.