Former Ambassador Oren: Obama Policy Has Hardened Israeli Leaders Against Peace Process


michael orenBy Eliezer Sherman

The Obama administration’s policy toward Israel and its leaders has hardened Israeli decision makers and hurt the peace process, Israeli lawmaker and former ambassador Michael Oren said.

“Israel will only make concessions to the Palestinians when it feels secure,” Oren told an audience at New York’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom synagogue on Tuesday, promoting his new book called Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, based on his experience as ambassador.

Oren said the lack of daylight between previous administrations and Israeli leaders had allowed former prime ministers to make concessions to the Palestinians, whereas the Obama administration’s reversal of this policy stymied peace efforts.

“Because there was no daylight, Arik Sharon felt empowered to remove Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005,” Oren explained, referring to the late former Israeli prime minister. “And because there was no daylight … [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert was able to offer Palestinian statehood to [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas.” The latter Olmert-Abbas deal would have seen Israel withdraw from 93% of the West Bank in exchange for peace.

“It is in the absence of the principle [of no daylight] that we have not had more progress toward peace,” Oren explained. “When we feel secure that is when we make concessions. When we’re knocked on the head that is when we buckle down.”

The American-born Oren, who was ambassador from 2009-2013, said his “repeated plea to the [Obama] administration always was: try love.”

Both Olmert and Sharon were in office during the former presidency of George W. Bush. About a week ago, Oren wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal that insisted the Obama administration had abandoned two core principles of the U.S.-Israeli relationship: “no daylight” and “no surprises.”

In the WSJ piece, which proved incendiary and even drew an apology from the head of Oren’s Israeli parliamentary party, the former ambassador posited that the Obama administration had intentionally undermined relations with Israel as part of its foreign policy.

The Algemeiner

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  1. I’m not sure it hardened Israeli leaders against the peace process, but it sure did so for Abbas. Why should he negotiate (which by its very nature requires concessions from both sides) when he can sit back and watch President Obama pressure Israel to make unilateral concessions before negotiations even begin?

  2. Where in the history of the world have victors in war been forced to return acquired land???
    1) All American wars
    2) All civilized nations after war
    3) Most developed nations in modern history
    4) NEVER


  3. Mr. Oren, the “peace process” has been dead from its very beginning. The bad Arabs want is dead. The “good” Arabs want us gone. There is no one on the Arab side to talk with. And if an Arab had the courage and sense to want to make peace with the Jew in EY, he is assassinated.

  4. ‘Because there was no daylight, Arik Sharon felt empowered to remove Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005,” Oren explained’

    One of the many factual errors Oren is promoting. Sharon bitterly objected to much of Bush’s Road Map and went ahead with the disengagement anyway.

  5. Sharon bitterly objected to much of Bush’s Road Map and went ahead with the disengagement anyway.
    This is enough of a distortion that it can be considered an outright lie, similar to its authors claim that “Oren hates Obama so much that he wanted him assassinated”. Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush were very much in agreement on the overall road map. While Sharon at one point used a strongly worded statement to object to the “No new settlers” clause, there was certainly no “Bitter” objection to “Much” of the road map.

    The relationship between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon was one of the closest and warmest between two countries’ leaders ever, and there was mutual personal respect in the relationship as well. This is a total and complete contrast to the unmasked and unbridled contempt that President Obama has displayed to Prime Minister Netanyahu from the very beginning of his presidency and throughout his term in office.


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