Obama tells Israel: Go back to 1967 borders

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Niccolo and Donkey
Obama tells Israel: Go back to 1967 borders


May 19, 2011

President Barack Obama endorsed a major Palestinian demand today for the borders of its future state and prodded Israel to accept that it can never have a truly peaceful nation that is based on "permanent occupation."

Obama's urging that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders — before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza — was a significant shift in the US approach and seemed certain to anger Israel.

Israel has said an endorsement of the 1967 borders would prejudge negotiations, and Obama took pains to show respect for Israel's views ahead of his meetings tomorrow with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The comments came in Obama's most comprehensive response to date to the uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Speaking at the State Department, he called for the first time for the leader of Syria to embrace democracy or move aside, though without specifically demanding his ouster.

As he addressed audiences abroad and at home, Obama sought to leave no doubt that the U.S. stands behind the protesters who have swelled from nation to nation across the Middle East and North Africa, while also trying to convince American viewers that US involvement in unstable countries halfway around the world is in their interest, too.

Obama said the United States has a historic opportunity and the responsibility to support the rights of people clamoring for freedoms, and he called for "a new chapter in American diplomacy."
"We know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith," the president said.

He hailed the killing of al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and declared that bin Laden's vision of destruction was fading even before US forces shot him dead.

Obama said the "shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region."

The president noted that two leaders had stepped down — referring to Egypt and Tunisia — and said that "more may follow." He quoted civilian protesters who have pushed for change in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen but noted that among those nations, only Egypt has seen the departure of a long-ruling autocratic leader.

Obama said that while there will be setbacks accompanying progress in political transitions, the movements present a valuable opportunity for the US to show which side it is on. "We have a chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of a dictator," he said, referring to the fruit vendor who killed himself in despair and sparked a chain of events that unleashed uprisings around the Arab world.

On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the president cautioned that the recent power-sharing agreement between the mainstream Palestinian faction led by Mahmoud Abbas and the radical Hamas movement that rules Gaza "raises profound and legitimate" security questions for Israel. Netanyahu has refused to deal with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

"How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?" Obama asked. "In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question."

Obama also rejected a push by the Palestinians for UN recognition of a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in September. "Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state," Obama said.

The president ignored many of the most divisive issues separating the two sides. He did not speak about the status of Jerusalem or the fate of Palestinian refugees. And, he did not discuss a way to resolve Israel's concerns about a Hamas role in a unified Palestinian government, telling the Palestinians that they would have to address the matter themselves.
Niccolo and Donkey

Yep. And Obama plays a good game. The Israeli right in the US going to lambast as weak on nat sec and Muslims - he just releases the Osama pics. He keepsa his dick in his pants so they can't Lewinsky him. I imagine they'll now agree to come to the negotiating table and string things out over the next five years in the hope another Bush like emerges.

Niccolo and Donkey
I think that Israel is really fucked because the USA threw international law away by pushing for Kosovo's UDI and not getting as many states to recognize it as they thought they would. Palestine would get around 130 states recognizing its independence, thus allowing for all sorts of institutional levers to act as pressure forces on Israel.

There is no way Israel will remove settlers from the West Bank, every Israeli believes it was retreating from and evacuating South Lebanon and Gaza that gave them Hamas and Hezbollah as neighbors.

Obama isn't serious anyway. However I'm glad to see the Great Arab Chimpin spread to Palestine. With Gaza's borders open a real insurgency can begin. How spectacular if Palestinian guerillas make the Sinai into a militant refuge, use Egypt's border as the Taliban uses the Pakistani border, as the Viet Cong used the Cambodian border. It would press the IDF to strike Egypt as Hezbollah did with Lebanon, and Egypt is the largest Arab country... Swollen with Jihadists who for the time being satisfy their appetite with Copts, but who will surely turn their sights East in time.

Gen. Butt Naked
The Israeli political establishment, left and right, is pretty thoroughly devoted to occupation and genocide by attrition. The chattering classes and street, on the other hand, show a diversity of opinion that never fails to shock North Amerikans whose perspectives on the Israel-Palestine conflict have been shaped by domestic Zionist groups that tend to be aligned with Likud. Positions that Israel's Amerikan defenders regularly decry as anti-Israel (and possibly anti-Semitic) are commonplace and socially acceptable among Israeli Jews.

The real issue at stake for Israel with maintaining the occupation of the West Bank is water. Almost all of historic Palestine's fresh water lies beneath the occupied West Bank. Israel today enjoys swimming pools, unrestricted access to tap water, and agricultural plenty made possible by West Bank aquifers. The West Bank also serves as a low-cost dumping ground for sewage and other solid waste. Issues of retreat and ideological aggressiveness aside, average Israelis will face serious lifestyle adjustments if the Zionist state withdraws from the West Bank. Israel can currently pretend to be a first world country due to a combination of free money from Amerika and plunder of Palestinian resources. Cutting out the latter would force Israelis to come that much closer to facing the reality of their third world status.

And as much as I dig your scenario of Sinai as the Waziristan of the Med, I just don't see the terrain supporting it. It's a lot easier to hide in the mountains and the jungle than in the desert.
Niccolo and Donkey
This is correct. One must also take into account the massive social and cultural gulf between the Orthodox and the Reform/Secular Jews in Israel and especially the hatred of the latter for the Orthodox settlers on the West Bank who don't work, don't serve in the military, are supported by the state and are now having 8.8 children per family.

Israel is never all that far from a civil war; it's simply their neighbours' hostility that keeps it from erupting.
Gen. Butt Naked
8.8 children per family? Christ almighty. Last I read, Israel's non-orthodox Jews weren't breeding at replacement levels.

I've been saying for years that Israel's future is as a Jewish Iran but without the large educated/technical class keeping the theocracy afloat, and it looks like that future may be closer than I thought.
Niccolo and Donkey
I recall hearing 8.8 but can't find a source yet. I did find this :

I think that's specific to the USA and not Israel where I imagine it's higher.
The Sinai may or may not be a practical militant base, but if it becomes a conduit for arms and fighters into Gaza, or a base for launching rockets into Israel, Israel will attack it, biting the lion's tail.

A collapse of Assad can have the same effect for Syria, and the Jordani monarchy as well. Without strong anti-Jihadi despots on Israel's borders, these countries become flooded with anti-Israel Muj.