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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama to Israel: 'Not one inch'

Shavua tov - a good week to everyone.

The Jerusalem Post was one of only two Israeli publications to interview Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama this week, and after reading the interview one can only hope that it was done before Obama went on the helicopter trip pictured above. If the interview was after the helicopter trip, Obama is even more hopelessly naive than any of us ever thought. Or is he just plain arrogant? Here's what the JPost wrote in an editorial summarizing their impressions:
All US administrations since 1967 have pushed Israel to trade land for peace and opposed Jewish settlement in the West Bank. However, on April 14, 2004, President George W. Bush wrote to prime minister Ariel Sharon: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, 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..."

We asked Obama whether he too could live with the "67-plus" paradigm. His response: "Israel may seek '67-plus' and justify it in terms of the buffer that they need for security purposes. They've got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party."

Without that "buffer," the strategic ridges of the West Bank that overlook metropolitan Tel Aviv and the country's main airport would be in Palestinian hands. Eighteen kilometers - or 11 miles - would separate "Palestine" from the Mediterranean, the narrow, vulnerable coastal strip along which much of Israel's population lives.

While Obama promises to dedicate himself, from the "first minute" of his presidency, to solving the conflict, his apparent sanguinity over an Israel shrunk into the 1949 Armistice Lines is troubling. Half the Palestinian polity is today in the clutches of the Islamist rejectionists in Gaza. If the IDF precipitously withdrew, the other half, ruled by the "moderate" Ramallah-based leadership, would quickly fall under Islamist control. And that is something no American president would desire.

Obama's position on territorial compromise, in part, may be a consequence of Israel's abiding inability to achieve a consensual position regarding those areas of Judea and Samaria it feels must be retained under any peace accord, and then to assiduously explain that position internationally.

But he sounded surprisingly definitive in his outlook on this immensely sensitive issue - more so, indeed, than did McCain when we interviewed him in March - even though he was making only his second visit to Israel. He owes it to Israelis and Palestinians - and to himself - to return here for a deeper look.
Amazing how the man can make that definitive a statement on his second trip here - a trip that lasted a day (how long did the first trip last?). That's the height of arrogance in my book.


At 10:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This specific and very damning Obama quote on '67 lines quote needs to be more widely shared with those who care about Israel.

At 6:17 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Orde.... its not Obama who will be making that decision over Israel's borders. Its Israeli leaders uncertain as to why Israel should exist within ANY borders at all. And that's the most dangerous position to have since Israel appears to no longer have "red lines." Everything is up for sale.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Well, it's God as noted in the Bible that has set the borders, period, He's never been and never will be wrong. As prophesied, rebellious man can and will try to draw their own lines, internationalize Jerusalem, etc, but their schemes will only be very temporarily successful.

The reason I think the Obama quote is important is because it is more specific than the generalities of his that we have to speculate and make inferences from.


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