The kindest description for President Obama's Israel/Palestine policy is "noble failure." He's succeeded at saying just enough of the right things to cause concern amongst die-hard supporters of Israel, but has so utterly failed in backing those words up that the rest of the world sees him as no different than the Bush administration as a rubber stamp for Israel's policies.
The Obama administration recognizes the great damage it is doing to America's standing in the world on behalf of Israel, and is starting to hit the panic button. And, from whom do they request diplomatic help? Our good friends the Israelis?
Of course not.
Instead, as reported by The New York Times, U.S. Appeals to Palestinians to Stall U.N. Vote on Statehood
One can only imagine the snorts of derision that such requests draw inside the West Bank.
The administration has made it clear to Mr. Abbas that it will veto any request presented to the United Nations Security Council to make a Palestinian state a new member outright.
But the United States does not have enough support to block a vote by the General Assembly to elevate the status of the Palestinians’ nonvoting observer “entity” to that of a nonvoting observer state. The change would pave the way for the Palestinians to join dozens of United Nations bodies and conventions, and it could strengthen their ability to pursue cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
What better way to proceed than a combination of threat and impotence?
And what is the reasoning? Is the United States trying to persuade the Palestinians that it's in their best interest?
Of course not. They're asking the Palestinians to rescue the Obama administration from a trap of its own making.
Senior officials said the administration wanted to avoid not only a veto but also the more symbolic and potent General Assembly vote that would leave the United States and only a handful of other nations in the opposition. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic maneuverings, said they feared that in either case a wave of anger could sweep the Palestinian territories and the wider Arab world at a time when the region is already in tumult. President Obama would be put in the position of threatening to veto recognition of the aspirations of most Palestinians or risk alienating Israel and its political supporters in the United States.
“The most powerful argument is that this will provoke a Palestinian awakening, that there will be a new violence and that we’ll be blamed,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel.
In other words: "We're in the tank for the people occupying your lands no matter what, but could you throw us a bone and stop this silly bid for international recognition?"
To recap: The US has declared its intention to isolate itself diplomatically and squander any good will it had garnered from the Cairo speech and Arab spring in its reflexive support of Israel, but then asks the Palestinians to relieve them of the consequences of that same reflexive support with empty calls for negotiation and dialogue.
Feckless is probably too kind.