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Friday, June 06, 2008

More obfuscation on Jerusalem

We have more obfuscation on Jerusalem Friday morning from the campaign of Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Hussein Obama.

Of his feelings about dividing Jerusalem, Obama said: "As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute. And I think that it is smart for us to -- to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."

Some in the media portrayed this as something of a flip-flop. "Facing Criticism, Obama Modifies Jerusalem Stance," said Reuters. "Obama amended his support for Israel's stance on Jerusalem on Thursday…"

With the headline "Obama Backtracks on Jerusalem," Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post wrote: "Facing criticism from Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged today that the status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated in future peace talks, amending a statement earlier in the week that Jerusalem 'must remain undivided.'"

Asked for comment, the Obama campaign put a reporter in immediate contact with Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. -- an Orthodox Jew, a strong supporter of Israel and Obama's point man on many of these issues -- who told ABC News, "that is not backtracking."

"His position has been the same for the past 16 months," Wexler said. "He believes Jerusalem should be an undivided city and must be the capital of a Jewish state of Israel. He has also said -- and it's the same position as President Bush, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert -- that Jerusalem is of course a 'final status' issue," meaning it would be one of the key and final points of negotiation for a Palestinian state. "And Sen. Obama as president would not dictate final status issues. He will permit the Palestinians and Israel to negotiate, and he would respect any conclusion they reach."

Wexler concluded, "the articles are not picking up this position. They're not contradictions -- they're the same position."

The record seems to back Wexler's argument that Obama has said both that Jerusalem should be Israel's undivided capital, and that its status is ultimately up to Israel. Obama's adviser for the Middle East, former Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, recently said that "It will be impossible to make progress on serious peace talks without putting the future of Jerusalem on the table."

And in these answers to questions from the American Jewish Committee, Obama wrote that the U.S. "cannot dictate the terms of a final status agreement. We should support the parties as they negotiate these difficult issues, but they will have to reach agreements that they can live with. In general terms, clearly Israel must emerge in a final status agreement with secure borders. Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital, and no one should want or expect it to be redivided."

Can anyone tell what his position actually is?

It should be obvious - but I'll say it anyway - that the whole 'Jerusalem question' would look very different if the United States stopped worrying about 'prejudicing the final outcome' and moved its embassy here. Don't expect that to happen anytime soon though. Because Israel's own government is so weak-kneed, it's much easier for the US to say Jerusalem is a 'final status issue' and 'up to Israel' while working in the background to make sure that parts of the City are turned over to 'Palestinian' control. Much as I hate to admit it, in that respect Obama's proposed policies would be no different from those of George Bush, Bill Clinton or George Bush senior.

As to Wexler, he's an even bigger dhimmi than I thought previously. Orthodox? My stomach is turning.


At 9:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You're not listening. I strongly disagree with your assessment of Obama.


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