Obama paints Bibi as obstacle to peace, lauds Abbas
In his sharpest jab yet at Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama blasted the Israeli leader as the sole obstacle to a peace agreement, while lauding Mahmoud Abbas as a fully committed peace partner.
In an interview with Bloomberg ahead of their White House summit, Obama made it clear that the entire responsibility to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rests with Netanyahu – and only with Netanyahu.
Previewing his conversation with Bibi Monday at the White House, the president said he would ask the prime minister, “If not now, when?” and “If not you, who?”
Which leaves one wondering why Obama would resort to brutal tactics that are bound to throw the relationship into a deep freeze. Obama may have had differences with other national leaders, but he never came out swinging with such gusto. Why this unforgivable treatment of Bibi?
And why in the world at the very start of their summit? If Obama really wanted to make some progress in the peace process, why indeed would he attack Bibi so savagely just before they sat down for their D.C. summit?
Is it because Obama has basically given up on genuine peacemaking and just wanted to blast Netanyahu one more time and lay all the guilt on him? Perhaps. The two men never developed the right chemistry. And Obama, in his innermost feelings, simply may have seen one more opportunity to tarnish Netanyahu. Obama’s latest blast recalled a comment he made even before his first inaugural -- to wit, while he was a staunch supporter of Israel, this didn’t mean that he would genuflect to every position of the Likud, Bibi’s political party.
Or was this a case where Obama just wanted to flex his muscles and teach Bibi a lesson, with the aim of creating a deep rift within Israel’s political landscape? Signaling Israel to find another leader more in tune with U.S. interests? If so, the president was badly mistaken. Israelis, of all people, don’t like to be bullied.
In either case, now, on top of all that, Obama throws more salt in the wound by depicting Abbas in the most roseate hues – a paragon for peace, perfectly trustworthy. If that isn’t a sick joke, when everyone knows that Abbas has rejected each and every compromise to achieve Palestinian statehood and keeps fueling a vicious incitement campaign against the Jewish state, it's hard to say qualifies as one.
Whatever his motive, Obama violated all basic diplomatic rules in so needlessly and heedlessly slamming Bibi -- the kind of diplomacy that Obama seemed to favor over all other approaches.