Any end-of-term Israeli-Palestinian peace push by the Obama administration would likely be viewed in the Middle East as “legacy-seeking grandstanding rather than as a contribution to peace,” the Washington Post said on Sunday.
In an editorial criticizing the “self-defeating passivity” of outgoing President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies, the paper cited the “absence of any preparatory diplomacy” as the reason that a new effort to advance the peace process would go nowhere.
Earlier this week, veteran Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said Hillary Clinton supporters must call on the Democratic presidential nominee to ensure Obama refrains from making any diplomatic moves against Israel during the remainder of his time in office.
As reported on extensively by The Algemeiner, concerns have been growing that Obama might not protect Israel at the United Nations during the lame-duck period between the presidential election on Nov. 8 and the inauguration of Obama’s successor on Jan. 20.
In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Jonathan Schanzer — vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — said Obama was considering six different “punitive measures” aimed at “score settling” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama’s choices, Schanzer said, range from “recognizing a Palestinian state to a UN Security Council resolution that details parameters for the peace process, or perhaps…, even more likely, a UN Security Council resolution against settlements.”
“If those fail,” Schanzer continued, “then we think that there could be a Rose Garden speech or some other parameters speech that the president delivers in the last several months of his presidency. They’re also apparently weighing the option of sanctions, or at least barring organizations that support settlements through IRS regulations.”
In Sunday’s editorial — which took particular aim at Obama’s inaction in Syria — the Washington Post said that the next White House occupant “will be confronted by a pressing need to revitalize and reshape US engagement in the Middle East. Though many Americans share Mr. Obama’s evident desire to write off the region, it remains vital to US interests — as a source of energy, as well as of terrorism, destabilizing flows of refugees, potential nuclear proliferation and crimes against humanity.”
“In short,” the piece concluded, “what’s needed is a president who recognizes the need for American leadership in the Middle East.”