Monday, 23 May 2011

Obama's Speech And The 1967 Lines

The senior editor of MEMO (the pro-Hamas group who are tonight, hosted by Amnesty holding a debate called "Complicity in Oppression: Does the Media Aid Israel?"), Ibrahim Hewitt, wrote in to The Guardian complaining about Obama's speech; that negotiations on land would "reward Israel for its illegal settlement policy" (disputed, not illegal), that a non-militarised Palestinian state would be "at the mercy of the Israel Defence Forces" (not such a bad thing; it's an indisputable fact that if the Palestinians put down their weapons the conflict would end but if Israel put theirs down they would be destroyed); that Israel is a Jewish state and that the US is committed to Israel's security. How terrible. 

It's not surprising that the Israel-bashers are disturbed by Obama's professed support for Israel, but the speech wasn't all good. Hewitt says that since Israel accepted the two-state proposal in 1947, (which the Palestinians rejected, as Abbas forgot to mention in his NYT op-ed), Israel should have no case not to go back to what Hewitt calls the "1967 borders", which is similar to what Obama suggested: "We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps". 

Obama correctly called it lines, unlike Hewitt, because they were never borders. But if Israel did go back to the pre-'67 lines, Gaza would be part of Egypt, and the West Bank in Jordan. There never was a Palestinian state. The most obvious point to make, which Netanyahu did, brilliantly, is that those lines are indefensible, leaving Israel only nine miles wide - "these were not the boundaries of peace, they were the boundaries of repeated wars". They were unsustainable, and the only reason Israel is (bli ayin hara) more stable now than it was then is because it can defend itself, because it won that land when the Arabs started the '67 war. 

Just Journalism point out that the coverage of Obamas' speeches about Israel (in The White House, and at the AIPAC conference) focuses almost exclusively on his demands on Israel rather than his condemnation and demands of the Palestinians, such as that 
"the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace: recognizing Israel's right to exist, rejecting violence, and adhering to all existing agreements. And we once again call on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who has been kept from his family for five long years."
Meanwhile Honest Reporting observe that whilst Netanyahu's response to Obama was reported in the New York Times as "Netanyahu Responds Icily to Obama remarks", what didn't get that sort of coverage was Abbas' response, his complete rejection of Obama calling the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation an obstacle to peace, saying that after all, "Hamas is a part of Palestinian society".

It's quite frightening how since Abbas joined Hamas he's abandoning any pretence of wanting peace. He is just one step away from openly advocating terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

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