Responsible leaders on both sides should dial down Israel rhetoric - Commentary

Responsible leaders on both sides should dial down Israel rhetoric

JONATHAN GREENBLATT | Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 10:30 am

Whatever the motivation of the Obama administration, the events of the waning days of last year mark a dramatic low point in U.S.-Israel relations. The Kerry speech has commanded the most recent attention, but the disastrous decision to abstain on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2443 is more likely to be recorded as a milestone that doomed the peace process. It is a moment that could trigger any number of highly destructive consequences for Israel and the two-state solution that the administration claims to champion.

To start with, the abstention represents an incredibly negative bookend that closes the foreign policy section of the Obama library. Indeed, the Obama administration’s Israel policy seemed uneven at best and unfair at worst. There were many moments that fed the skepticism of the pro-Israel, pro-peace community. These include the initial decision to skip Israel in a series of speeches across the region in 2009; the ill-advised decision to force the Israeli government to freeze settlement construction before supporting peace talks that same year; the push in 2015 for the Iran nuclear deal despite the protests of Israelis across the political spectrum and the blithe dismissal of the genocidal rhetoric of the Islamic Republic; and the complete failure to deal with surging non-state actors like Hezbollah because of their alignment with Iran.

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