‘Jerusalem must remain undivided unless it is divided’

News item:

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel’s capital to remain “undivided,” his campaign told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” Obama declared Wednesday, to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference.

But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes “Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties” as part of “an agreement that they both can live with.”

“Two principles should apply to any outcome,” which the adviser gave as: “Jerusalem remains Israel’s capital and it’s not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967.”

He refused, however, to rule out other configurations, such as the city also serving as the capital of a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods.

“Beyond those principles, all other aspects are for the two parties to agree at final status negotiations,” the Obama adviser said. — Jerusalem Post

In other words, “It must remain undivided, except of course to the extent that it will be divided”. What could be more clear?

No surprises here, except that Obama’s advisers didn’t catch this before he said it. US officials at the embassy in Tel Aviv needn’t pack yet.

My feeling is that

  1. American politicians have no understanding of the real issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
  2. they simply can’t help saying what they think an audience wants to hear, and
  3. Israelis and Diaspora Jews who care about Israel should not, ever, depend on the US or anyone else to protect her.

Lesson no. 3 should have been learned a long time ago.

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2 Responses to “‘Jerusalem must remain undivided unless it is divided’”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    The present Israeli Prime Minister , or at least important people close to him, like Haim Ramon, have said things very similar to what Obama has said.
    We know what present Defense Minister Barak offered Arafat in terms of Jerusalem. it was far more than certain peripheral Arab neighborhoods.
    In other words when Israeli leaders and politicians are themselves ‘ambiguous’ on this issue, how is it impossible to expect American politicians, even the most friendly ones, to take the position which almost all Israeli leaders once took but many now do not i.e. no compromise whatsoever on Jerusalem, including the peripheral Arab neighborhoods in the greater Jerusalem area.
    I am not happy about any of this. But it is the old question of how we can expect someone to be more Catholic than the Pope when the Pope himself is not so Catholic.

  2. ME says:

    I agree with Shalom that the politicians and leaders of Israel and America were ambiguous on the issue of Jerusalem.

    Israeli soldiers are probably best able to take a more decisive stance on the issue.