To me, the way our government is treating Israel--and then claiming that we are unbreakable allies--is unthinkable. Here is the perspective of Charles Krauthammer, as quoted by NRO's The Corner:
We have already had a year delay in talks because of Obama interjecting the settlement issue in the first place.On how Israel was treated by President Obama during the Netanyahu visit:
Remember, for 17 years the Palestinians and Israelis negotiated, ever since Oslo, directly in the absence of a freeze in settlements. Palestinians never demanded it as a precondition.
In comes Obama, and he demands a freeze of settlements. The Israelis say, why should we make preemptive concessions in advance? Palestinians haven't made any. And the Palestinians answer and say, "Well, if the Americans are demanding a settlement freeze, we are going to demand it as well. And in fact, we won't even speak with the Israelis until there is a settlement freeze."
This is absurd. That's why we have had a year of the Palestinians essentially in a boycott of these negotiations.
So, then, Netanyahu works out a fig leaf, a compromise in which he agrees to a ten-month moratorium outside of Jerusalem for a freeze. And then all of a sudden Obama re-imposes a new condition now of a freeze in Jerusalem, which no Israeli government will ever accept.
Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. Everybody understands that in a [final peace] settlement, these neighborhoods of east Jerusalem — the ones that we are speaking about and where the construction is occurring, as well as the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem — are going to be in the Jewish state under any understanding or settlement.
For example, in the Clinton parameters of the negotiations a decade ago [at Camp David], they would be incorporated into Israel.
So, no Israeli is going to accept a preemptive concession that Jews can't live in this area of east Jerusalem. So unless Obama changes position, talks again are at a standstill because of a blunder on the part of this administration.
Everybody wants negotiations. This inadvertently undermines them.
There's a striking oddity here. This is a president who bows deeply to the king of Saudi Arabia, who's in a photo-op with the dictator of Venezuela, and will not allow the press in when he has a meeting with the prime minister of the only democracy in the Middle East and the strongest American ally in the Middle East.
It is odd, indeed.
On the question of repealing Obamacare:
The first question is, will the courts act on this. I think there is a very good case, a very strong case, you can make that the commerce clause has never been used to force an individual to engage a contract with a private institution, i.e., an insurance company, here.
Although — so I think there is a strong case. But I cannot imagine that the courts will overturn a piece of legislation this large. So, just as a practical prediction on this, I think it's unlikely. Although I would like to see Justice Alito write the overturning opinion.
But then I think there is a larger issue here. I think ultimately Obama understands that he has just added an unbelievably large entitlement onto a country drowning in debt. He is not stupid. I think he anticipated this, and I think he, from the beginning, had a plan.
And the plan is he is going to use the deficit reduction commission, which will report only after November — and I'm absolutely sure it will recommend something new in American history, a national sales tax which is called a VAT [value-added tax] in Europe.
All the Europeans who have the kind of entitlements America is now going to have — health care and all the others — need the VAT, because it's a gusher of income for the government. And once you have that — even the very small level of one percent or two of a national sales tax — that's how the liberals think they will be able to fund this new, very expanded entitlement state.
It's the way it's done in Europe. It's going to have to be done here. And that, I think, is going to be the argument in the presidential election of 2012.