- - Monday, July 14, 2014

President Obama’s delusional Mideast peace plan can be summed up in one sentence: Delegitimize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas while urging the Israeli government to restrain itself as the state of Israel is once again under attack by a barrage of Hamas rockets.

Mr. Obama’s peace plan is not only delusional, but is also a recipe for disaster. Weakening the Israeli prime minister’s standing and image in the international community, especially during a crisis in Israel, only drives the Israelis and the Palestinians further away from peace and encourages more violence in the region.

In an op-ed by Mr. Obama that was recently published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz geared specifically for the Israeli public, the president had the audacity to praise Mr. Abbas as a peacemaker — clearly an irresponsible and inaccurate description of a man who openly has embraced Hamas, coalescing with the terrorist organization in one Palestinian unity government. Mr. Abbas‘ own Fatah organization has advised Israelis on its Facebook page, “This is an oath to the Lord of the Heavens: Prepare all the bags you can for your body parts.” Certainly, that kind of savagery is hardly becoming of the devotees of a trusted peacemaker. However, what is most galling about Mr. Obama’s op-ed in Haaretz is that he purposefully labeled in an Israeli newspaper the Israeli prime minister as an opponent of peace and a persona non grata. Otherwise, he would have referred to Mr. Netanyahu as Mr. Abbas‘ counterpart in the peace process instead of highlighting the peace credentials of Shimon Peres, who only holds a ceremonial role in Israel as the outgoing Israeli president.

It is no secret that Mr. Obama despises Mr. Netanyahu. He famously retorted in 2011 to the French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy regarding Mr. Netanyahu, “You are fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you.”

However, the president’s disdain for the Israeli prime minister is no longer a self-contained display of hard feelings between two world leaders that can be explained away by the administration as a simple snafu or an overlooked faux pas. It now has spiraled out of control and has endangered the prospect for peace.

The unvarnished truth is that Mr. Netanyahu is deeply committed to peace. Unfortunately, he does not have a peace partner in Mr. Abbas. Mr. Netanyahu was led to believe by the Obama White House that if he facilitated settlement freezes and released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands against his better judgment, he would be promoting peace with the Palestinians. He reluctantly consented to the demands of the White House. Mr. Netanyahu also outlined conditions in several speeches for the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. What has he received in return from Mr. Abbas? A unity government that includes Hamas, which actively engages in terrorism and whose members are purportedly responsible for the brutal and vicious killings of three Israeli teens, unilateral moves for Palestinian statehood outside of peace negotiations, the glorification of terrorists in Palestinian town squares, and an absolute refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state under any circumstances.

It is not a matter of concern for Mr. Obama that Mr. Abbas has joined together with Hamas because Mr. Obama will never view Mr. Abbas as an inhibitor of peace. He will never demand that Mr. Abbas sever his government from Hamas or face shunning from the international community in the same manner as he has shunned Mr. Netanyahu. This sends a very stark and poignant message to Mr. Abbas to continue his anti-peace initiatives. The Palestinian leader knows that he has a doting friend in the White House supporting his every move, no matter how far he strays away from the pursuit of peace. No matter how many unprecedented concessions Mr. Netanyahu makes, including those that are harmful to Israel’s security, Mr. Abbas is also well aware that Mr. Obama will never laud the Israeli prime minister for his extraordinary efforts to bring peace to the region despite the absence of a serious peace partner.

This lopsided mentality has emboldened the Palestinian Authority-Hamas government, and now more than 100 rockets a day are raining down on Israeli civilian populations, including in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

What incentive is there for Mr. Abbas to return to the peace table if there are no diplomatic consequences for his actions, but only encouragement from the U.S. president?

If Mr. Obama thinks he can force Israel to restrain itself and discredit her prime minister as a means to promote peace while she encounters renewed terrorism within her borders, he is wholeheartedly mistaken.

The only sensible road to peace is the complete annihilation of Palestinian terrorism. I suggest that Mr. Obama board the peace bandwagon once and for all, and enthusiastically endorse Mr. Netanyahu and his government as the Israel Defense Forces valiantly engage in a campaign to eliminate incessant rocket attacks on Israeli cities. The president’s dream of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will never come to fruition as long as he castigates the Israeli government.

Regrettably, I doubt he will choose to promote the logical path to peace.

Brad E. Kauffman is a lawyer and pro-Israel activist in Baltimore.