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Netanyahu's devastating encounter with Obama

Posted By Les Kinsolving On 05/24/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

On May 19, President Obama called upon Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders – meaning allowing Palestinians to take control of half of its capital city of Jerusalem as well as all of the West Bank.

The following day, in Washington, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat alongside Obama and declared to reporters that Israel will not withdraw to 1967 borders to help make way for an adjacent Palestinian state.

The Associated Press reported:

“We cannot go back to those indefensible lines,” said Netanyahu. The prime minister made no mention of Obama’s stipulation that there would be “land swaps,” an omission that seemed to present Obama’s proposal as more onerous.

Ladies and gentlemen: Think about that.

Obama called for our ally, Israel, to accept these indefensible 1967 borders – in exchange for “land swaps.”

Yes, “land swaps” – not one of which swappings I have heard defined or identified!

No wonder Israel’s so-much-more-realistic prime minister rejected this incredible “1967-With-Swaps” scheme – in the very presence of the president who proposed it.

The AP also noted:

  • “There was no sign of resolution of the many barriers that stand between Israel and the Palestinians, more now than last September when Obama brought the two parties together to call for a peace deal within a year – a deadline that now looks unattainable.”

  • “The president never mentioned the 1967 borders as the two men talked with reporters. The leaders spoke after a lengthy meeting in the Oval Office.”
  • “Netanyahu said his nation could not negotiate with a newly constituted Palestinian unity government that includes the radical Hamas movement, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. He said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had to choose between continuing the deal with Hamas and making peace with Israel.”
  • “Obama agreed that Hamas ‘is not a partner for a significant realistic peace process’ and said Palestinians would have to resolve that issue among themselves.”

So, I am compelled to wonder, so soon after Palestinian President Abbas joined together with Hamas, why did Obama call on Israel to evacuate Jerusalem and the West Bank?

Prime Minister Netanyahu understandably and commendably rejected this Obama evacuation suggestion, as well as the Palestinian “right to return” (to Israel). This outrageous idea contends that Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948 are somehow entitled to return and claim land they voluntarily abandoned (unlike some others who stayed and eventually were elected to Israel’s parliament, or Knesset).

The AP also noted:

  • “The comments from Netanyahu and Obama, after a longer-than-scheduled meeting that lasted over an hour-and-a-half, sounded more like a recitation of the many barriers to peace than an explanation of why there should be any reason for optimism.”

  • “The two leaders did not take questions from the press, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was unable, in a subsequent briefing, to point out any concrete signs of progress.”
  • “Netanyahu was informed shortly before Obama’s speech of its contents by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to U.S. officials. Netanyahu sought in vain to get the border language removed from the speech, the officials said, and was incensed when he was told it was staying in. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic exchange.”
  • “In the face of Israeli anger, Carney argued Friday that Obama’s articulation of the 1967 borders didn’t amount to a new position.”

And to that, I would comment: “No wonder there is Israeli anger.”

Reuters reported:

  • “In March of last year, Netanyahu was left cooling his heels while Obama went to the White House residence for dinner with his family, widely seen in Israel as a snub.”

  • “Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney now says Obama ‘threw Israel under the bus’ and handed the Palestinians a victory even before negotiation between the parties could resume.”
  • “Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said, ‘It is a disaster waiting to happen.’ Former Sen. Rick Santorum called the president’s approach ‘dangerous.’”

From one of the nation’s most influential Democrats, former New York Mayor Ed Koch:

“This is the most dangerous and critical period that Israel has ever faced, and regrettably it does not have the support of the United States.”

Koch warned that he may cross party lines in 2012 and vote against President Obama.

In the U.S. Senate, Orrin Hatch of Utah said he will introduce a congressional resolution:

“Israel is the United States’ strongest friend and ally. By calling for a return to the pre-1967 borders, President Obama has directly undermined her. Rather than stand by Israel against consistent unprovoked aggression by long-time supporters of terrorism, President Obama is rewarding those who threaten Israel’s very right to exist. This is not only ridiculous, but dangerous. There is strong disapproval in Congress for the president’s new posture toward Israel, and I will introduce a resolution affirming Israel’s right to maintain its territorial integrity. Now, more than ever, the security interests of the United States and Israel are linked. Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is a clear and present danger to both of our nations. We cannot distance ourselves from our Israeli friends.”

And columnist Oliver North noted:

  • “Obama’s insistence that ‘the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps’ means at its narrowest point the country would be only eight miles wide – and utterly indefensible.”

  • “It means Israel, the only state in the region that meets the president’s criteria for ‘self-determination’ – an honest judiciary; an independent media; credible political parties; free and fair elections – must now negotiate its fate with those who want none of those things. Barack Obama has become Yasser Arafat’s dream come true.”

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