Israeli disaffection with Obama bears on a major trait of Jewish mentality: the concern with words rather than deeds. For generations, Jews were used to situations in which others’ deeds toward them were unavoidably bad; at least, the words should be nice.

That attitude has persisted throughout the peace negotiations. The minutes of the secret Oslo talks reveal the Jewish obsession with words. The negotiators readily conceded to abandoning Jerusalem and allowing Arab family reunions in Israel, but paid the utmost attention to weasel formulations.

Now, likewise, the government has agreed to practically abandon Judea and Samaria to Arabs, but insists on face-saving measures such as preserving the settlements. What difference does it make whether we cede 93, 97, or 100 percent of the land to Esau? And don’t bring up the topic of the poor settlers: most of the settler population resides in towns, feels no attachment to the land, and only lives in the West Bank because of its relative cheapness. That is especially true for ultra-Orthodox communities, who will relocate to whatever place is given them cheaply enough, especially now that Ovadia Yosef proclaims that their lives are more important than Jewish land. Somehow, King David was oblivious to that correlation when fighting his wars of expansion. Of the village communities, many would also relocate to Galilee. So, basically, the entire fuss over the borders relates to perhaps 1 percent of the Israeli population. Clearly, this is not something for the other 99 percent to be concerned about. The Palestinians have further defused the situation by offering the hardcore settlers Palestinian citizenship; a lot of them would accept it in order to stay in their homes. The problem is not whether to preserve the settlements, but whether to abandon Judea and Samaria.

The fight over the natural growth freeze is equally meaningless. If providing for natural growth is of any importance, Israel can accept Obama’s demands while turning a blind eye to the construction, the way she turns a blind eye to illegal Palestinian construction. The fight has a single reason: to show how tough Bibi is and rally the nation around him against Obama.

The Israeli government also makes an issue of the Temple Mount. The real issue is the Third Temple rather than jurisdiction over Al Aqsa. The Muslims are perfectly sensible: as long as Al Aqsa is there and the Third Temple is not, they rather than Jews have claim to the place. Here, too, the government wants to pull a face-saving trick rather than enact a policy with substance: the Temple Mount will be released to the UN rather than the Palestinians; Christians and Muslims rather than Muslims, a big difference.

In order to prove its non-existent toughness, the government places all kinds of meaningless demands on the Palestinians. They are to recognize Israel as Jewish state; let Jews recognize it as Jewish, first. A proudly atheistic state is not Jewish in religious terms. A state with 34 percent Arabs among its young, as well as scores of other foreigners, is not Jewish in an ethnic sense. A state where Arabs don’t serve in the army, skip taxes, and build illegally—where they are basically above the law—is not Jewish in a nationalist sense.

Demilitarization is another silly demand. Even if the Palestinians commit to not owning fighter jets now, nothing precludes them from changing their minds later on. In terms of proximity, there is no difference between fighter jets stationed in Ramallah and Damascus—but Israelis don’t imagine a demilitarized Syria.

Also there are demands related to security. If anyone should make demands, the Palestinians should demand security guarantees from Israel. We have valid reasons for oppressing them, but in the end we killed dozens of times more Palestinians than they killed Jews. Again, we did a right thing, if insufficiently, but Palestinians have much stronger doubts about security than Israelis. Realistically, Abbas can do nothing more about terrorism. It takes venerable Shabak and IDF together to fight Palestinian terrorism; how do we expect the US-trained Palestinian militia to succeed? The US itself has failed against terrorists in Iraq; what kind of brain-damaged analyst can expect their proxy to succeed in the West Bank? Hamas fails to control Gaza militants who launch rockets at Israel sporadically; a weaker Fatah cannot do more.

Obama is hated for placing the onus on Israel. But on who else should it be placed? Israel calls the territories occupied rather than liberated. Naturally, she has to freeze and eventually remove the settlements from the occupied land. What is there that Obama should demand from Arabs? Israel is prepared to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians to stop terrorism rather than to gain overfly rights over Saudi Arabia. Nothing precludes the Arabs from lifting the embargo now and reinstating it a couple of years after a Palestinian state is formed; would we re-occupy Palestine then? Nor is the embargo especially important: Israel has bought Arab oil and Iranian pistachios for decades despite the embargo.

Unless Jews recognize Judea and Samaria as inalienable parts of the Promised Land, dragging out the peace process makes no sense.