But that was last week. Obama went to the G8 meeting in France intent in getting support for his statement on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a way to reaffirm his comment on the 1967 borders. He did however ran into trouble...PM Harper, from Canada, objected to any language including a specific mention of the 1967 borders, and Obama had to back off (again). Meanwhile, several Media outlets are reevaluating Netanyahu's speech and he comes out on top!
Just to make it more interesting, Obama's visit to Warsaw included a visit to the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial commemorating the 1943 Jewish uprising againts the Nazis. And he paid tribute to the Jewish-Polish heroes of the rebellion. Yet Lech Walessa, Nobel Prize winner of Solidarity Movement fame, refused to meet with him because he wanted to go to a Biblical Festival in Italy...All in all Obama's travgels in Europe appear to indicate that American clout with European governments is diminishing, or at least Obama's clout.
September is still coming after the summer - that hasn't change; the Palestinians are still planning to bring the issue of statehood to the General Assembly - that hasn't change either. Yet according to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in a New York Times recent Editorial, the Palestinians are coming to the UN to demand the fullfilment of the promise given more than 60 years ago. He is referring to the Partition, promising an Arab State along a Jewish State. It was not really a promise in fact, but a Resolution - one that the Palestinians rejected.
After the 1948 war they could have declared their State in the territories controlled by the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, but not a peep was said at the time and nothing was heard on the subject until after the 1967 war, in which Israel defended herself and came into control of the West Bank and Gaza.
Golda Meir offered Municipal Autonomy in 1969 - the Arabs rejected it
Israel offered autonomy in 1979 as part of the Peace treaty with Egypt - the Arabs rejected it.
Israel offered in 2000 at Camp David most of what the Palestinians asked. An even more generous offer was put on the table at Taba. Not only did Arafat reject the offers, but in September 2000 initiated the "Al Quds Intifadah", one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of the conflict.
Since then, successive Israeli Prime Ministers came up with formulas to try and find common ground for a resolution - rejected one after another by a Palestinian leadership unwilling to compromise and holding fast to the same maximalist demands.
And now, thanks to the recent changes in American foreign policy, the Palestinians appear to be convinced that they have been given the title, key and all, to the West Bank and Gaza along the 1967 borders, and quite a few political analysis appear to agree.
This would mean that after the declaration of Statehood in September, when (if) Israelis and Palestinians sit down to talk, Israel will be negotiating with nothing to offer. The recent changes represent a complete abandonment of the "Land for Peace" principle in American foreign policy regarding the conflict. Israel will be discussing the ownership over the Old City, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as aliens trying to get something from their rightful owners, puting the Palestinians in a position to push more demands (maybe the Right of Return?)
Many would say, and it might be true, that Obama did not intend to put Israel in that position, and that he insisted that the final borders need to be negotiated between the parts. The problem with that is that the 1967 "borders" were never such. The Arabs, reluctantly, accepted those lines as Cease Fire lines in 1949. Not as a the end of the conflict, but as a pause in it.
Yet now, they appear to have assumed, with Obama's endorsement, the status of legal international borders without a single concession on the Arab side. I would say at the least, Obama's speech was poorly thought through and created unforseen serious consequences for Israel. At the worst, many are saying than Obama has sold Israel down the river to improve the American image in the Arab world. Either way, the times ahead look ominous for Israel.
Join us on June 5th to participate as a community in the Salute to Israel Parade in NYC!