Caroline Glick

Among other things, since squeezing the first temporary ban on Jewish property rights out of Netanyahu, Obama has demanded that the moratorium be made permanent and be extended to Jerusalem.

As for his vision of the "peace process," Obama has demanded that Israel accept the 1949 armistice lines as the basis for negotiations.

He has used the US veto at the UN Security Council as a means of pressuring Israel to make further unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians.

And the "pro-Israel" US president has demanded no similar concessions from the Palestinians.

THIS WEEK, Wexler, now the head of the far-left S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, was back in town. Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, he said that Israel should consider extending the ban on Jewish property rights to within the 1949 armistice lines. Wexler based his claim on then-prime minister Ehud Olmert's 2008 peace offer to Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Olmert's offer, which Abbas rejected, involved a "land swap," in which in the framework of a comprehensive peace deal, Israel would give the Palestinians land from within its 1949 boundaries in exchange for land in Judea and Samaria that Israel would permanently retain. According to media reports, Olmert offered Abbas 4.5 percent of Israeli territory in exchange for a similar amount of land in Judea and Samaria.

While Wexler appeared at the Herzliya Conference as the president of a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, his continued intimate relationship with Obama is well known. Last fall, Commentary's Omri Ceren documented that Zvika Krieger, Wexler's vice president at the Daniel Abraham Center, authored documents for Obama's reelection campaign. Among other things, those documents cited articles authored by Krieger and Wexler in which they championed Obama's record on Israel from their nonpartisan perch at the Daniel Abraham Center.

Given Wexler's close ties to Obama, it is reasonable to assume that his suggestion that Israel cease exerting its national sovereignty over its sovereign territory in the interests of the peace process is not simply his personal view.

There is much to criticize about Wexler's suggestion. But more important than its arrogant, insulting absurdity, and more disconcerting than Wexler's own hypocrisy, is what his suggestion tells us about the dangers inherent in Netanyahu's current negotiations with the Palestinians.

To understand the connection we need to recall the nature of Olmert's offer to Abbas.

Olmert's negotiations with Abbas were based upon the proposition - repeated ad nauseam to the Israeli public - that "nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to."

The idea was clear. True, on the one hand, the prime minister was conducting negotiations far from the spotlight, and refusing to tell the public what was on offer. But on the other hand, we could rest assured that that nothing he offered would have any significance whatsoever unless the Palestinians agreed to a final-peace deal with Israel. If they rejected peace, then everything Olmert said would become null and void, and be tossed down the memory hole.

In accordance with this basic proposition, when Abbas rejected Olmert's offer, and made no counteroffer, it was naturally assumed that Olmert's proposal was rendered null and void.

Yet four years later, here is Wexler, Obama's surrogate, advocating a policy of unilateral abrogation of Israeli sovereignty over 4.5% of its national territory in order to enable the eventual implementation of an offer that was predicated on the notion that "nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to" and as such is null and void.

THIS BRINGS us to the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. For the past month, under the aegis of the Middle East Quartet, Netanyahu's representative attorney Yitzhak Molcho has been conducting negotiations with Abbas's representatives in Amman, Jordan. Last week, Molcho reportedly outlined the government's general positions on lands it is willing to cede to the Palestinians.

Without presenting any maps, Molcho reportedly said that a permanent agreement would involve most of the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria remaining in Israeli territory. The media interpreted this to mean that like Olmert, Netanyahu expects for Israel to retain perpetual control over large blocks of Israeli communities that take up less than 10% of the overall landmass in Judea and Samaria.

For his part, Netanyahu this week reiterated his position that Israel must maintain a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley. This has been interpreted to mean that Netanyahu is willing to cede sovereign rights to the area to the Palestinians.

Taken together, what Molcho's statement and Netanyahu's statement indicate is that at a minimum, in exchange for peace, the Netanyahu government is willing to expel some portion of the 350,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria from their homes and to transfer sovereignty over a significant portion of the territory to a Palestinian state.

From the vagueness of what has been reported, it is apparent that Netanyahu has been far less specific about the scope of the territorial concessions he is willing to undertake than his predecessor was. But then again, Olmert made his offer after conducting negotiations with Abbas for over a year. Netanyahu only entered these talks a month ago.

And while no one in or out of government believes that these negotiations have any chance of leading to a peace deal, the fact is that Netanyahu is feverishly working to ensure that the talks continue. He spent a good part of his day on Wednesday speaking on the phone to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and meeting with Quartet envoy Tony Blair and UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, begging the foreign leaders to convince the Palestinians not to abandon the negotiations.

As he put it in his joint press conference with Ban, "You cannot complete the peace process unless you begin it. If you begin it, you have to be consistent and stick to it."

For his part, Abbas is doing everything in his power to make clear that he does not wish to negotiate, and that even if negotiations continue, he will never cut a deal with Israel. To underscore his bad faith, next week Abbas will travel to Egypt to meet with Hamas terror chief Khaled Mashaal. The two men are set to discuss the means of implementing the unity government deal they signed last May.

Netanyahu is obviously under great pressure to continue with these talks. A day doesn't go by without some US official or European leader talking about the need for talks, or a leftist politician or political activist at home blaming Netanyahu for the absence of peace. But none of this pressure can justify the damage that is done to Israel's position by continuing to engage in these negotiations.

As Netanyahu's own experience with Obama (and Wexler) shows, concessions never bring a respite from the US leader's pressure. They only form the baseline for demands for further concessions.

Beyond the narrow confines of Obama's personal hostility towards Israel, Netanyahu's current engagement in negotiations with the Palestinians is devastating to Israel's position in two ways.

First, it makes it impossible for Israel to extricate itself from the lie of PLO moderation and to start telling the truth about its Palestinian "partner."

Quite simply, as Abbas's continued courtship of Hamas and his open embrace and glorification of mass murderers such as the murderers of the Fogel family make clear, the PLO has returned to its roots as a terrorist organization. It is no longer credible to claim that the PLO has abandoned terror in favor of peace.

By engaging in peace talks with the PLO, Netanyahu renders it impossible to make this critical claim. Consequently, he damns Israel to a situation in which we continue to empower and politically legitimize a terrorist organization committed to our destruction.

The second way continued negotiations devastates Israel's position is by eroding our ability to claim our rights to Judea and Samaria and so extricate ourselves from this fake peace process with terrorists. As Wexler made clear, from the international community's perspective, everything that Israel offers at the negotiating table is catalogued. Regardless of Palestinian bad faith, irrespective of actual prospects for peace, every theoretical Israeli concession becomes the new baseline for further negotiations.

American "friends" like Wexler and Obama play Israel for a fool again and again.

In truth, we should thank Wexler for coming here this week and reminding us of his bad faith, and the bad faith of the president he serves. But it is up to Netanyahu to draw the appropriate lessons.


Caroline Glick

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.

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