Yes it’s totally believable. It shows that even the smartest US guys are brainwashed – truly brainwashed – by Israel/AIPAC propaganda and their framing of the debate. A fundamental part of that propaganda is that Israel is and always has been willing to negotiate for some kind of two-state solution. Kerry AFAIK worked incredibly hard to sustain Israel/Palestinian negotiations – based on that “Israel is willing” foundation. His efforts were clearly pointless at the time – Netanyahu was clearly playing with him – but there don’t seem to be any decent psychologists in any US administration.
You have to be quite mad – in this particular area – completely divorced from reality -, to believe that Israel intends to give anything back.
A country that pours 750,000 settlers into the Occupied Territories *every year for 50 years* and continues to pour settlers in relentlessly, clearly has no serious intention whatsoever of giving the territories back – clearly wants them all in the end, however gradually.
The maps are particularly shocking because they underline the systematic nature of the land grabs. I saw another a few years back – of Israeli settlements, wh. made clear that they strategically and systematically encircled the whole of the W Bank.
That should be the starting point of all discussion here. “Israel has no practical intention of giving anything back. Israel will go through negotiations charades, if pushed, but won’t give anything back. What then can be done to change its mind?” It’s in everyone’s except Israel’s interests, incl. US administrations to accept that and stop imagining that Israel is open to real negotiation.
I suspect that even Kushner with his plan, hasn’t taken this on board – doesn’t realise that even if the Palestinians would accept the scraps offered in his plan, the *Israelis* wouldn’t! Netanyahu is probably stringing him along too.
At the same time, it’s important to realise that Israel has always partly brainwashed itself – never allowed the left hand to know what the right hand is doing. It has always been fundamental to Israeli politics that there is some debate about how much to give back and whether to negotiate. The Israeli establishment has never fully admitted to itself that it wants and is pursuing all the land – and still doesn’t.
Only in the last few years have we come to see more and more Israeli politicians putting aside the 50 year facade, and saying “it’s all ours by right”. You only have to read Comments sections in Israeli media to see that most ordinary Israelis now think that too.
Yes it’s believable that Obama didn’t fully realise what was going on. But you have to have a certain psychological subtlety to understand the “schizophrenic”/split nature of Israeli propaganda and thinking.