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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama - Israel must withdraw to 1967 borders with land swaps

Israel's pre-1967 borders had no geographical or military logic.  Those borders simply were the armistice lines after the Arabs failed to drive the Jews into the sea.

The border is not defensible, as it leaves the middle of Israel only about 10 miles wide.  One of the reasons the 1967 war took place is that Israel could not wait to be attacked, it had to act preemptively.   These borders also left Jerusalem divided, with the old Jewish Quarter in Jordanian hands.

Yet these are the borders, with some minor land swaps, to which Obama wants Israel to withdraw, according to Obama's Middle East speech today (emphasis mine):
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.
At one level this statement does not go that much farther than the reality of where negotiations might end up.  So why make the speech, why put the 1967 borders as an American imposition?

Whether the speech really accomplished anything is in doubt.  If anything, it will be a negative, not because it ends up that much farther than prior positions, but because it fits with the unacceptable narrative that Israel is the problem.  Why doesn't Jordan, which constitutes most of the British Palestine, give up some land?  Why only Israel?

This was a good day for the Palestinians because the President of the United States has sided with their territorial demands without the Palestinians having to give anything in return.

Update:  How does the U.S. now not endorse the U.N. resolution expected in September recognizing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders?  Given this speech, what possible opposition do we have?  And how will the Europeans join us in a hypocritical opposition?

A reminder of how vulnerable the 1967 borders were, from my prior post, Egyptian Upheaval Shows Why Territory Still Matters for Israel:

And, good history of how the 1967 border never was a recognized international boundry.

Update No. 2 - see my new post, Hey, Israel, Those Territorial Assurances Were From Bush Not Me, as to why this is not merely a statement of prior policy as Jeffrey Goldberg (via Andrew Sullivan) is asserting.

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  1. Nice work on the Jewish vote Obama ...

  2. Worst. President. Ever.

    Hopefully, Hopefully, this will FINALLY get the liberal left Jewish bloc to stop supporting this TOOL!

    Peter Fonda was correct: "f'in' traitor" - a.k.a. Obama.

  3. This SHOULD screw the pooch with American Jews...


  4. "Israel must be able to defend itself - BY ITSELF"

    IOW, don't expect any help from the U.S. under the Obama administration, Israel, in the event you are attacked by those who seek nothing other than driving you into the sea. How much clearer does Obama have to be to let American Jews know that they have no friend in Obama?

    There is NO such thing as a nation of Palestine. It was never its own nation, and should not be now. And why doesn't Jordan have to give back what it took?

    Is this president so clueless that he thinks a two-state solution will just automatically make the Palestinians, who are being oppressed, not by Israel, but by Hamas, lay down their guns and their "Death To Israel, Death To America" signs? Nevermind, I can answer my own question: yes, he is that clueless.

    Israel has no friends other than the U.S. Now it seems that friendship has been put on hold until a new administration is willing to be a partner again with the only free, democratic nation in the Middle East.

    I weep, and I pray, for the people of Israel.

  5. "As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat." -Obama

    That is Obama saying the US will not support Israel if they are attacked. Some might have missed that little statement - but you KNOW the "April Spring" believers are celebrating.

    I pray for Israel. They MUST NOT yield to this man, Obama. Ben Netanyahu - stand strong against this wolf in sheep's clothing. Don't agree. I pray.

  6. I agree that the border issue leaves room for debate on both sides....I'm rather tired of Israel being a client state with our perpetual patronage.

  7. If he were only 1/5th as tough on our enemies as he is on our allies...

  8. So, basically he took the direct approach in throwing Israel under the bus.

  9. "Never fight a Jew in the desert."

    --Frank Sinatra

    After Carl Cohen punched an unruly Sinatra's front teeth out at the Sands in Las Vegas.

  10. That "by itself" really stood out to me, too.

    OK, box Israel back into its vulnerable 1967 borders and, upon the first terrorist jihadi attack within or missile lobbed into sovereign Israel from Palestine, let Israel declare war on Palestine with the understanding that to the victor go the spoils, permanently. After this speech, Israel should no longer brook the uneven-handed doctrine of proportionate response or proportional war that is used by enemies and disingenuous allies to hobble Israel's self-defense.

  11. I have linked to you over on The Diplomad 2.0.

  12. Might be a good time for Israel to simply declare that there is no negotiating with Hamas/PLO, evict the Palestinians from both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and see what happens. Negotiating seems to be surrender by good manners in a room of barbarians.

  13. Well, on the Bright Side, Obama didn't say "blood libel" anywhere in his speech. Sooo, Obama will probably not come in for all the grief that Sarah Palin did. Because carving up Israel for its enemies is not nearly as bad as somebody saying "blood libel." Right???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  14. Likud MK: "Obama is the new Arafat." Somebody needs to photoshop Arafat's face onto Obama's "Hope" poster.

    Well, they did both win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Crazy, crazy world.

  15. Constitutional Insurgent, client state? What about the ONE BILLION DOLLARS THAT OBAMA JUST GAVE TO EGYPT TODAY IN THE FORM OF DEBT RELIEF?

    Obama just threw Isreael under the bus. Go back and see how easy Christians could visit their holy sites before the 1967 borders. If you were smart, and I don't think you are, you would know that Christians were not allowed access to even their most holy sites. Nor were the Jews.

    This is a black day for Israel, and an even blacker day for the United States because we have just stabbed our closest ally in the Middle East right in the back. My God, wake up.

    Now, what will American Jews, who helped elect Obama even as the media hid his relationship with Edward Said and other radical Palestinians, do?

  16. retire05: No, we did not stab them in the back. That was "two taps to the forehead". Hopefully Netanyahu will remember he has an appointment to get his hair done, and will stay home from his upcoming visit.

    I didn't vote for Obama because he is lacking any recovery from fighting a lost battle. If he had, then he would know that a victim of bullying knows to go after the protectors of the bullies.

  17. "It's not the job of the US to dictate the form that it will take" Hussien oblahblah in 2008...

  18. This is Obama's very public endorsement of an all-out war on Israel by its barbaric neighbors.

  19. retire05:

    Nice of you to go straight to the personality based attacks....really shows the merit of your own position doesn't it?

    I disapprove of foreign aid...so I don't really see the point of your snipe about Egypt. I also don't give a damn about believers and their holy sites. I'm rather tired of taxpayer dollars going towards entitlements.

    This is yet another issue where the substance matters less to most people than their sacred calf.

  20. You should not call the 1949 truce line "1967 borders". However, I would agree to having Israel stay at the "1967 borders", if they were defined as the borders in existence as of July 1, 1967.

  21. Hey, wasn't July 1 after that "kinetic military action" thing in 1967? That's pretty tricky. Although it wasn't really long enough to justify calling it a war. Except, had they lost, they would have been totally wiped out by people who desire the death of innocents. That too horrible to consider, but we must. The Iranian President sounds the same way Nasar did.

    If a bully threatens long enough, then the intended victim is obligated to strike in self-defense.

  22. Constitutional Insurgent, you'll have to forgive me; I have no tolerance for idiots. If you don't want to be called down on the carpet, don't make stupid statements. And maybe you don't like ANY foreign aid, but that horse left the barn a long time ago. But why are we giving money to Egypt and Tunsania, who are both scheduled to fall to the Muslim Brotherhood?

    And I really don't give a hairy rat's ass what you think about "believers and their holy sites". What about those who value those sites for historic reasons?

    Now, why don't you go troll over at Huffington Post or DailyKos?

  23. I'm pretty sure Obama was talking about the borders established in the 1967 war. Mutually agreeable swaps is a policy that hasn't changed in a dozen years, according to Jeffrey Goldberg: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/05/nothing-new-in-the-idea-that-67-borders-should-guide-peace-talks-updated/239162/

  24. Hmm...for no tolerance for idiots...you seem to be quite art ease with your own rantings.

    You keep bringing up foreign aid to Muslim nations as if that means something to me, but interesting prognostication on the political courses of Tunisia and Egypt. Utterly bereft of thought, but interesting.

    Those who value holy sites for their historical reasons can travel to defend them in person. It's not as if I'm asking you to flip the bill for my pet projects.

    How about you mosey on over to Kos, I'm not the one endorsing unearned entitlements. That's a liberal position.

  25. @Bird Dog - Goldberg says that, but his link is to a 2009 Hillary statement. Bush's 2004 letter speaks for itself.

  26. "One of the reasons the 1967 war took place is that Israel could not wait to be attacked, it had to act preemptively."

    That's some serious apologia for a belligerent unprovoked attack right there. By that logic the Japanese were right to attack Pearl Harbor since they needed oil which our naval forces threatened. Oh right, you only give such blanket immunity from logic to Israel.

  27. William,
    I'm not seeing how Bush's 2004 letter and Obama's speech are substantively different. The key phrasing in Obama's speech is "mutually agreed swaps", which has to mean that the original armistice lines are obsolete.

    In the 2004 letter, Bush stated that it is "unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, , and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."

    Obama doesn't want a full and complete return either, hence the use of "mutually agreed swaps". So I ask you, what exactly is the major difference in policy between Bush and Obama?

  28. @Bird Dog - see my post just after this one, I explain the difference.

  29. Tlaloc said:

    "That's some serious apologia for a belligerent unprovoked attack right there. By that logic the Japanese were right to attack Pearl Harbor since they needed oil which our naval forces threatened. Oh right, you only give such blanket immunity from logic to Israel."

    Tens of millions of Asians who died under "co-prosperity" nowhere near Pearl Harbor would tend to disagree with your false analogy, I believe.

  30. An interesting...and controversial...take on Obama's speech http://wp.me/pHTL0-6X

  31. My word Tlaloc is an incredibly stupid individual. Are you an adult?

  32. "My word Tlaloc is an incredibly stupid individual. Are you an adult? "

    Ah, I hurt your feelings. Well you know you could just not be an apologist for genocide. Then it wouldn't hurt your fee-fees so much when you found out more about the middle east...

  33. The only apologist for genocide and war crimes here is you. After all, the Palestinians commit the actual war crime of perfidy every day and not a peep from you or the other terrorist lovers on the left.