Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set President Barack Obama straight on a matter of contention about Obama’s speech on Thursday. Appearing with Obama after they’d met, Netanyahu declared in a polite but firm manner that Israel will most definitely not go back to 1967 borders in negotiating peace terms with Palestinians.
Netanyahu had first thanked the president and First Lady Michelle Obama for their “gracious hospitality” during this visit. That hospitality sharply contrasted with what most perceived as a snub of the Israeli PM during a prior visit to Washington.
In a speech on Thursday, Obama endorsed the idea of Israel reverting to the 1967 borders.
Netanyahu made it clear that Israel wants peace, defining it as peace that “will be genuine…and will hold.” It can’t, he said, be based on “illusions.”
Netanyahu also pointed out what should be obvious to State Dept. wonks held in high regard by legacy media. There can be no negotiations with Hamas because, said the PM, Hamas “is committed to Israel’s destruction.” He reminded Obama Hamas had fired a rocket at a yellow school bus. He also ironically reminded Obama Hamas (politically) attacked Obama over the handling of Osama bin Laden.
Then, dropping a bombshell that will likely be missed by 99 percent of legacy media, Netanyahu likened Hamas to al Qaeda.
The prime minister also brought something up I’ve mentioned before in my columns,but that few other media of any ilk bring up. It has to do with Palestinian refugees, a group that must be addressed in any peace brokering.
Netanyahu reminded Obama that after the 1948 Arab attack, Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees but countries accepting Palestinian refugees didn’t. Instead they put them in camps, conferring a permanent sort of temporary status. “The Palestinian refugee problem can be resolved, but not within the Jewish state,” said the prime minister, who added Israel seeks “a peace that is defensible.”
It’s useful to point to an essay by Paul Johnson in the excellent book Inside Israel. Those refugees are a valuable political asset to Arab nationalists. Johnson wrote, “As Cairo Radio put it: ‘The refugees are the cornerstone in the Arab struggle against Israel. The refugees are the armaments of the Arab and Arab nationalism.’”
Johnson said that’s why Arab countries rejected the 1950 UN plan “for resettlement without discussion.” Those countries continued to reject Israel’s proposals for compensation. Johnson wrote, “The result was disastrous for the refugees themselves and their progeny. It was a source of instability for the Arab states also.” [pgs. 83-84]
Netanyahu called attention to the unrest in the Middle East. I’d add that unrest is praised by numerous liberal pundits who ignored Iran’s democratic protesters but seem to believe multiple democracies will spring forth in places like Egypt and Libya. Fools all, in my opinion, but now the Middle East has been deliberately unglued, there’s not much to do but stand by and observe. The prime minister offered a final caution where Israel and any peace agreements are concerned.
“We don’t have a lot of margin for error,” said Netanyahu.
Hopefully Obama will bear that in mind, particularly with the Democrats’ penchant for appeasing countries where Islamist power and influence dominate.
Related Articles at The US Report
Backgrounder on Israel (More on the book 'Inside Israel' by John Miller et al)
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 20, 2011)
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