President Barack Obama met with Jewish leaders from the Orthodox Union on Tuesday and confided in them that he feared that the Palestinian Authority was no longer interested in advancing the peace process with Israel. The political ramifications of this statement, if it is true that the Palestinians are not going to advance the peace process, are enormous.
If the Palestinians decide to ditch all efforts at peace with Israel they have several options which, if implemented, could lead to a further deterioration of the relationship between Israel and its neighbors. The Palestinians could start to push for a “One State” Solution which, if implemented, would make Israel’s Jewish Majority a minority within a few years. This could mean the end of the Jewish State or a Jewish Democracy, either of which would be a disaster for Israel.
The Palestinians could also renew their push for recognition at the United Nations which could set Israel up for a confrontation with world powers.
Participants at the meeting with Obama said the President rejected the notion that he has been too even handed in dealing with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Obama said that he has always been and will always be pro-Israel. He pointed out that in every time he tried to convince the sides to talk he made clear that Israel’s security needs had to be addressed above all other concerns.
Addressing his call for a freeze in settlement expansion he said he was just following the call made by the previous four Presidents in office.
Obama said that in the wake of Arab democracy movements springing up throughout the Middle East that peace between the parties was of the highest concern.
A White House official said,
“the president discussed with the rabbis and lay leaders a variety of issues of mutual concern on issues related to both domestic and foreign policy. The president reiterated his unwavering support for Israel’s security and his commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”