But the administration also is guilty of missteps. Rather than pocketing Mr. Netanyahu's initial concessions -- he gave a speech on Palestinian statehood and suggested parameters for curtailing settlements accepted by previous U.S. administrations -- Mr. Obama chose to insist on an absolutist demand for a settlement "freeze." Palestinian and Arab leaders who had accepted previous compromises immediately hardened their positions; they also balked at delivering the "confidence-building" concessions to Israel that the administration seeks. Israeli public opinion, which normally leans against the settler movement, has rallied behind Mr. Netanyahu. And Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which were active during the Bush administration's final year, have yet to resume.
Rather damning, if you ask me: When George Bush was President talks between Israelis and Palestinians were intense, and eventually led Ehud Olmert to make concessions his voters never authorized him to make. The Palestinians, assuming Obama would win the elections in the US, saw no need to respond to Olmert's offer. That was in September, and now we're in August. Ten months have passed, seven of them with President Obama, and there are no talks underway at all.
Powerline doesn't see how Obama can fix things:
As a far more cogent editorial in the Washington Post explains, therein lies the folly of Obama's overbearing demands regarding settlements: it put him in a position where, to be seen in Israel as an honest broker, he now must act in ways that would undermine his status with the Arabs. Had he accepted Israel's concessions on settlements and not overreached, he would not have stumbled into this dilemma.