The political peace process to which Obama committed so much energy is considered a failure so far. And in the world’s most pro-American state, the public and its leaders have lost any faith in Obama and – increasingly — even in the notion of a politically negotiated peace.
Even those who still believe in the process that Obama has championed view his conduct as a deeply unfunny comedy of errors.
“He’s like rain,” said a top Israeli official involved in diplomacy with the U.S., speaking of Obama’s role in negotiations. “You can do all kinds of things to cope with it.”
Some fret that not only has Obama failed to move the process forward, but that he and his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts may have dealt it a setback that will leave it worse off than when they began.
“Each of them has exacerbated the mistakes of the other,” said Michael Herzog, a retired general who still plays an informal role advising Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s negotiators. He worries that the result of the bumbling could be “disastrous: people will lose hope in the possibility of a two-state solution.”
The lack of Israeli faith in him and his process has them using the talks to extract more tangible security assurances – the jets. And though America remains beloved, Obama is about as popular here as he is in Oklahoma. A Jerusalem Post poll in May found 9 percent of Israelis consider Obama “pro-Israel,” while 48 percent say he’s “pro-Palestinian.”
“Israelis really hate Obama’s guts,” said Shmuel Rosner, a columnist for two leading Israeli newspapers. “We used to trust Americans to act like Americans, and this guy is like a European leader.”
Many senior Israeli leaders have concluded that Hillary Clinton and John McCain were right about Obama’s naivete and inexperience.
“Obama’s biggest problem is that we don’t buy what he’s selling, and that is hope,” said one Israeli veteran of past negotiations. “There’s this sincerity about the American approach that is heartbreaking to watch.” (Full story here at POLITICO)