President Barack Obama’s pressure-filled demands for concessions from Israel in peace negotiations emboldened the Palestinian Authority to this week seek formal recognition of statehood from the U.N. General Assembly, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said today in a speech in New York.
“We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership,” Perry said in excerpts of a speech provided by one of his aides to The Associated Press. “And we are equally indignant that the Obama administration’s Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith.” …
“It’s vitally important for America to preserve alliances with leaders who seek to preserve peace and stability in the region,” Perry said. “But today, neither adversaries nor allies know where America stands. Our muddle of a foreign policy has created great uncertainty in the midst of the Arab Spring.”
Perry isn’t the only person who thinks the president’s policies on Israel have led the Palestinians to believe they have the wiggle room to make this bid for statehood.
Obama has been criticized by Republicans and many pro-Israel activists for seeming to push the Jewish state harder than the Palestinians to make compromises to achieve peace. Among other things, Obama has called on Israel to cease building housing settlements in the West Bank and to negotiate the scope of the Palestinian state using 1967 borders as a starting point — a diplomatic position the U.S. has long maintained but one that has never before been explicitly embraced by a U.S. president.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has also been outspoken about this issue, calling the confusion at the U.N. this week “an unmitigated diplomatic disaster.”
To be fair, ever since it has been clear Mahmoud Abbas would make an appeal to the General Assembly, the Obama administration has done what it can to resist the Palestinian push, promising to veto recognition in the Security Council and pledging to cut foreign assistance to the Palestinians if the General Assembly does recognize a Palestinian state. And Hillary Clinton has been scrambling to cobble together any kind of plan that would compel the Palestinians to abandon the ploy for statehood and allow Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to resume in about a month.
But as AP wrote last night, no way this can end well. Sure, Abbas stands to lose as much as Obama, but, as Perry said, had Obama maintained a clear position all along, Abbas might never have been so brave as to embarrass the U.S. this way.