Pundits are weighing in on President Barack Obama’s speech on the Middle East. On Anderson Cooper’s 360 show on Thursday, a couple of unremarkable “experts” projected Obama’s remarks as pro-Israel. Conservatives disagreed, and analysts like Charles Krauthammer took a very dim view of Democrats’ current approach.
The Daily Caller published remarks made by Krauthammer to Fox News, “What Obama did today is something that no American president has ever done, which is to endorse the return to the 1967 lines which as you said would reduce Israel to a country with a waist eight miles wide.”
Krauthammer also noted Obama expressed no specific expectations regarding the Palestinians.
Events prior to Obama’s speech put all the rhetoric in context. The Jerusalem Post carried articles about the recent rush on Israel’s borders. The Post said:
“Protests were launched not only in the ‘disputed’ territories that some Palestinian leaders assure the world are their only focus, but also at Israel’s internationally recognized borders with Gaza and with Lebanon. The day’s bleak message: Nothing has changed since 1947, when Palestinians and the Arab states rejected the UN partition plan.
Of late, the official Palestinian leadership has abandoned even the most pro forma gestures toward a negotiated peace. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas entered into a national unity agreement with Hamas, an Islamist organization that vows daily to destroy Israel. And far from Hamas moderating its positions, Abbas seems to be sounding increasingly radicalized.”
On the same day Obama made his speech, The Arizona Republic and other media disclosed Obama planned to call for billions in new aid to Arab nations. Those billions would, like any other new spending, contribute to US debt. Obama has also made it known he wants those he calls “the rich” in the U.S. to pay more in taxes. How one justifies tax increases as he proposes controversial spending abroad is an answer only Obama can give, but legacy media do not ask the president such questions.
Many conservatives weighed in on Obama’s approach. In a statement Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called attention to Israel’s sovereignty: “Unfortunately, the President’s reference to Israel’s 1967 borders marks a step back in the peace process, as the U.S. must not pre-determine the outcome of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Our focus should be in encouraging direct and meaningful negotiations between the sides, and to continue playing an important role as a security guarantor in the region.”
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) did the same. Paul said Obama doesn’t “understand a proper foreign policy for America.” Paul told Politico, “Israel is our close friend…While President Obama’s demand that Israel make hard concessions in her border conflicts may very well be in her long-term interest, only Israel can make that determination on her own, without pressure from the United States or coercion by the United Nations. Unlike this President, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs. There can only be peace in the region if those sides work out their differences among one another. We should respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate her policy from Washington."
Considering Obama’s behavior towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a prior visit, it’s natural to conclude Obama is not of the ‘Israel First’ camp. A Reuters story published at Yahoo said Obama’s meeting on Friday with Netanyahu “could be tense.” During the prior visit, Obama snubbed the prime minister. Liberals yawned as conservatives protested the behavior.
Adam Hasner, who hopes to capture Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson’s seat in 2012, issued a statement. Hasner said, “Senator Bill Nelson doesn't get it. Rather than viewing the recent escalation in attacks against Israel, and the dangerous alliance between Hamas and Fatah, as an important moment to stand with Israel, Senator Nelson sees an "opportunity" for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make further unilateral concessions in pursuit of a peace deal with the Palestinian government. This is appeasement, pure and simple, and it would be disastrous for Israel's security and for America's interests in the region.”
Paul and other conservatives’ advice is well-put. When I read about the Middle East, I am always reminded of Psalm 137 which I heard often as a girl—even the violent part which I am omitting. That particular passage speaks to Israel’s past and present: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”
Israel and the Palestinians must resolve their differences if any gains are to be made and slanted US interference is not going to produce a good outcome simply because it never has. Unfortunately Hamas has publicly called for Israel’s extermination and that is a definite barrier that, despite Obama’s cautions to Hamas, will likely not be overcome by any amount of rhetoric on the part of a US leader.
The Israel Project published a response to Obama’s proposal. Netanyahu said, “[T]he viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viability of the one and only Jewish state…Israel received commitments in 2004 from Congress that it would not have to return to the 1967 lines. Those lines were determined by the 1967 war in which several Arab armies amassed on Israel’s borders to launch an unprovoked attack.”
Netanyahu also said the pre-1967 lines, “are both indefensible and…would leave major Israeli population centers in [the West Bank] beyond those lines. Those commitments also ensure Israel’s well-being as a Jewish state by making clear that Palestinian refugees will settle in a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel.”
Obama’s position begs the question of whether his open borders approach in the U.S., in keeping with Democrat influencers like George Soros, applies to Israel too.
Related Article at The US Report: Roger Stone's prediction about Obama comes true
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 19, 2011)
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Pictures are worth thousands of words, and Gateway Pundit has an excellent visual rendering of exactly what Obama is asking Israel to turn over to Hamas. See Obama tells Israel...