RubinReports on Pres. Obama's Israel trip:
The idea that Israel needs to persuade its neighbors to accept its existence is a line we have heard almost daily since the 1980s or even 1970s. Yet curiously the Arab street pays no attention to the scores of such Israeli gestures and the West soon forgets each one. And indeed Obama has forgotten those that took place during his first term, for example the nine-month-long settlement construction freeze, just as before that were forgotten the Oslo agreement, Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the 2000 Camp David offer (including the offer to redivide Jerusalem!) and many more. [See Footnote, below]
Guess what? If today Israel were to make a huge new concession, six months from now that would be forgotten in the West, which would also forget that there was no considerable Arab response. Israelis know this and so saying this kind of thing about Israel proving its decent intentions can only fall with a cynical thud. Such statements remind Israelis why they are NOT rushing to make new concessions or take new risks.
Note, too, that Western and European promises to give Israel a big reward if Israel takes a big risk or makes a big concession and the Arab side doesn't respond have also been repeatedly broken.
What Obama is in effect saying is “Mr. Netanyahu, tear down that [security, counterterrorist] wall.” When he should be saying to the other side: “Mr. Abbas, Mursi, et. al., tear down that wall of hatred against Israel!”
Of course, he won’t do so because that would make the Arab leaders and publics mad, not because they want Israel to move faster on peace or seek a better deal but because they don't want peace at all. And the Islamists coming into power have no intention of tearing down the wall. In fact, they are building it higher than ever. And there's nothing--absolutely nothing--Israel can do to change the course of events in that respect.
Moreover, in a context where the same point is not made loudly, clearly, and publicly to the Palestinian Authority, the idea that the burden is on Israel to prove its peace credentials is a veiled way of Obama saying--and signaling to his supporters--that Israel is responsible for the failure to achieve peace.