Yeah, I don't know about how optimistic we should be about a deal ever being made. At the same time, a lot of these settlers are just crazies and it doesn't make much sense to placate them the way they've done for so long. And all they're accomplishing in doing so is provoking the Palestinians, as well as their Arab neighbors. So I don't see how these settlements are in Israel's interests in the first place. (And they're never justified in policy terms, only in historical/Biblical terms.) So I'd say that if we were really on the side of Israel, we would be condemning these settlers. I mean, every time they move to reign in the settlers, which is what provoked this incident, they get a first hand look at just how crazy they are.
And as far as Obama goes, one of the things that disappointed me about him early on was his pretty conventional pro-Israel stance. I mean I would have loved it if Rasheed Khalidi actually had as much sway over Obama as McCain tried to claim he did--pretty shamelessly I should say, since the only reason he invoked his name was because it's an Arabic one. But nah, I do like that Obama has Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff. Dude is someone whose ties to Israel allow him to be very critical and yet still seen as acting in good faith by the Israelis. Here's Jeffery Goldberg, of the Atlantic, on Emmanuel:
Jeffery Goldberg wrote:
Peace-processors take heart: Rahm, precisely because he's a lover of Israel, will not have much patience with Israeli excuse-making, so when the next Prime Minister tells President Obama that as much as he'd love to, he can't dismantle the Neve Manyak settlement outpost, or whichever outpost needs dismantling, because of a) domestic politics; b) security concerns, or c) the Bible, Rahm will call out such nonsense, and it will be very hard for right-wing Israelis to come back and accuse him of being a self-hating Jew. This is not to say that he's unaware of Palestinian dysfunction, or Iranian extremism, but that he has a good grasp of some of Israel's foibles as well. All in all, it's a very heartening choice.
Makes sense to me. Similar points have been made about having Hilary at state. They allow Obama to, say, pursue diplomatic relations with the Iranians or hammer out a new deal with the Israelis and the Palestinians and not be seen as some kind of radical, leftist, appeaser. (If that sounds dumb, that's because it is. The politics of our foreign policy are kind of stupid, if you didn't already know.)
So yeah, I don't know...