Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States during Barack Obama's first term as president has penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming the blame for the problems between the US and Israel can be laid at the feet of both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu however there is one major difference "while neither leader monopolized mistakes, only one leader made them deliberately."
According to Oren, Obama was dedicated to screwing up the Israeli/United States friendship from his first day in office.
From the moment he entered office, Mr. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran. Such policies would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader. But Mr. Obama posed an even more fundamental challenge by abandoning the two core principles of Israel’s alliance with America.
Those two principles Oren says are no daylight between the countries, "the U.S. and Israel always could disagree but never openly. Doing so would encourage common enemies and render Israel vulnerable;" the second was "no surprises."
Obama broke the first principle in 2009, by voiding a commitment made by Bush #43, "to include the major settlement blocs and Jewish Jerusalem within Israel’s borders in any peace agreement." As part of that commitment Israel was free to add housing units to existing settlement communities in Judea and Samaria as long as they didn't expand those communities, and they were free to add communities in agreed to areas in Jerusalem.
Speaking for the Administration, Hillary Clinton publicly denied the Bush commitment, but Elliot Abrams who negotiated the agreement for the United States backed up the Israeli account in a 2009 WSJ op-ed.
Oren explains that the Obama/Clinton denial of the previous commitment had severe consequences for peace:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted negotiations, reconciled with Hamas and sought statehood in the U.N.—all in violation of his commitments to the U.S.—but he never paid a price. By contrast, the White House routinely condemned Mr. Netanyahu for building in areas that even Palestinian negotiators had agreed would remain part of Israel.
Obama violated the "no surprises" principle during his first meeting with Netanyahu by demanding a settlement freeze and acceptance of the two-state solution. Soon after per the former ambassador, Obama gave his famous Cairo speech without warning the Israeli government he was about to throw them under the bus.
Oren's observations do not come from a hatred of the President. He mentions in the article that he does not feel that the President is anti-Israel, just that his policy of purposely driving a wedge between the countries is misguided. He relates in the article a 2009 meeting with American Jewish "leaders explaining his policy.
“When there is no daylight,” the president said, “Israel just sits on the sidelines and that erodes our credibility with the Arabs.” The explanation ignored Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and its two previous offers of Palestinian statehood in Gaza, almost the entire West Bank and half of Jerusalem—both offers rejected by the Palestinians.
Oren presents a list of examples of Obama purposely creating daylight and surprising his Israeli allies, including his 2011 speech calling for Israel/Palestinian negotiations to begin with Israel moving to the 1949 armistice lines, or his agreement to sponsor an investigation of Israeli settlements by the UN, or the administration leaks of Israeli secrets "intended to deter Israel from striking Iran pre-preemptively." But the real kick in the gut was the announcement in 2014 that Israel's primary ally had been secretly negotiating what looks to be a bad deal with Israel's most deadly enemy.
The daylight between Israel and the U.S. could not have been more blinding. And for Israelis who repeatedly heard the president pledge that he “had their backs” and “was not bluffing” about the military option, only to watch him tell an Israeli interviewer that “a military solution cannot fix” the Iranian nuclear threat, the astonishment could not have been greater.
Now, with the Middle East unraveling and dependable allies a rarity, the U.S. and Israel must restore the “no daylight” and “no surprises” principles. Israel has no alternative to America as a source of security aid, diplomatic backing and overwhelming popular support. The U.S. has no substitute for the state that, though small, remains democratic, militarily and technologically robust, strategically located and unreservedly pro-American.
The video below is a speech about the United States/Israel relationship Micheal Oren gave on June 9, 2015.