He says exactly what I was thinking: Israel necessarily gives up tangible assets (land) for promises of peace. Israel is willing to do only if her government trusts the U.S. When President Obama ignores promises made to Ariel Sharon by Obama’s predecessor in exchange for withdrawal from Gaza–that American policy started from the premise that Israel would keep the settlement blocs–that trust evaporates.
In 1956, Israel withdrew from Sinai in exchange for an American promise that it would use military force, if necessary, to keep the Suez Canal open to Israeli shipping. When Nasser closed the Canal in 1967, Johnson reneged on this promise. Backed into a corner, Israel preemptively struck at Egypt and Syria, and Jordan, too, when it chose to involve itself in the conflict.
Contrary to received wisdom, an insecure Israel is a belligerent Israel. U.S. policy for the last forty-plus years has been to try to ensure that Israel feels secure so that its peacemaking instincts prevail. I think that if Obama has indeed tossed out Bush’s promises from only seven years ago, the cause of peace is being harmed.