With the clock ticking on two terms that incalculably damaged the cause of peace in the Middle East, President Obama is reportedly planning to dictate terms of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement through the United Nations.
He must not go further down this path of ego, hubris and vengeance. He will not validate the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him in 2009 and never earned. Undercutting the Jewish state, he will only make negotiations more impossible than they already are.
Plainly, the President blames Israel in the person of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the failure of Obama’s attempts to broker a peace deal.
While Netanyahu can be tough to get along with, Obama persistently failed to accept that the Palestinians lack leaders with the courage to end a state of war by accepting Israel’s right to exist.
Obama hit a wall largely because he placed demands on Israel without requiring the West Bank’s Fatah-led government, much less the Hamas rulers of Gaza, even to respect basic Israeli security needs.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas felt no pressure to come to the table. He could rail against Israel — and gain points with his people — without taking risks for peace.
Should Obama ask the United Nations to vote on a resolution endorsing similar terms — or any terms — he will enshrine the Palestinians as holding a moral high ground from which they would claim justification for shooting rockets into Israel.
Posturing again as a tribune of peace, the President would repay Netanyahu’s truculence with a middle-fingered fiat as he scoots out the door.
Unconscionably, Obama would also tie the hand of his successor, who will have to labor to repair relations with Israel and rebalance the region’s expectations.
Peace in the Middle East eluded Obama, as it eluded every President since Harry Truman. Having failed worse than others, he stands no chance of redemption in the few months left in his administration.