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Obama All Over the Map On Israel   May 23rd, 2011
Obama was for 1967 lines before he was sort of against it       

 
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President Obama was for the 1967 lines before he was sort of against it.

Following last Thursday's "important speech" on the Middle East in which President Obama threw Israel under the bus, he's now saying that it was all a big misunderstanding. He actually claims he didn't say anything particularly original.

I kid you not.

Sunday, speaking at AIPAC, President Obama did some tap dancing.

President Barack Obama said Sunday that any controversy over his remarks last week that Israel-Palestinian negotiations should start from pre-1967 borders and include land swaps was "not based in substance."...

Obama acknowledged that he expected some controversy from his call last Thursday for negotiations to be based on border demarcations from before the six-day war of 1967, in which Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip and other territory...

His proposal contained "nothing particularly original," he said, adding that "this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations."

"If there is a controversy, then, it's not based in substance," Obama said.


Uh huh, yeah right.

First, if his proposal contained "nothing particularly original" then why would he acknowledge that he expected "some controversy from his call for negotiations to based on border demarcations from before the six-day war of 1967." Either he meant exactly what he said (and what everyone understood) about 1967 and that's why he expected it to be controversial, or he didn't intend to propose anything new in which case he wouldn't expect there to be any controversy.

This is an either/or situation. He can't propose "nothing particularly original" and claim he expected it to be controversial. Nor can he claim to have expected controversy and then say that that controversy is "not based on substance."

Clearly there was something in what he was going to say that he expected to be controversial or he wouldn't have expected controversy.

Additionally, Obama claimed he wanted to "kick-start the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks"... And he was planning on doing that without proposing anything to kick-start the process? Just by talking about something he claims was "not particularly original" he thought he was going to kick-start the process? Doubtful.

And for Obama to claim incompetence--either his own or the incompetence of his speechwriters--is unconvincing. In his speech, Obama said, "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." That message is clear. If those words were unintentional, Obama has incompetent speechwriters that have no idea what policy the president wants to pursue--and we have an incompetent president that will read anything that comes across the teleprompter.

Indeed, it was controversial and it was particularly original. Obama was the first American president to specifically state that the 1967 borders should be the basis of negotiation. And while Obama is now trying to backpedal by saying that the "land swaps" would guarantee the final borders wouldn't be the 1967 borders, that misses the point: When something is the "basis" for negotiations, that becomes the starting point. And it's not conducive to start negotiations from a point that isn't even in the ballpark when it comes to reality.

It wasn't just conservatives or the media that "misunderstood" something allegedly "not based on substance." Apparently the Israelis understood the exact same thing--and they were so confident in what they heard that their prime minister had a throw down with the president of the United States at the White House, and the Israeli prime minister won.

Israel wouldn't engage in such a throw down of the U.S. president if they didn't understand exactly what was being said.

Of course, the Palestinians understood the exact same thing. And like many have been commenting since Thursday, these comments by Obama now become the starting point from the point of view of the Palestinians. "Without Mr. Netanyahu committing to two states on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, he is not a partner to the peace process... I don't think we can talk about a peace process with a man who says the 1967 lines are an illusion" said the Palestinian's negotiator.

This confirms what many conservatives have observed: Obama's comments make a peace agreement less likely. It forced Israel to publicly state a hard line and gave the Palestinians an opportunity to use that hard line as an excuse to walk away from negotiations.

Even if Obama tries to walk back his statements, the damage is done. Palestinians are now demanding the 1967 lines be the litmus test to start negotiations.

We have a president in the White House that is jeopardizing peace and encouraging war in the Middle East. The only question is whether this is by design or due to incompetence and recklessness.


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