The White House is pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt President Obama’s view that Israel’s pre-1967 border should be the basis for future peace talks.
The Obama White House appealed to Jewish leaders on Friday that the request of Israel was part of an effort to head off Palestinian plans to declare an independent state at the United Nations in September.
Steve Simon, senior National Security Council advisor on the Middle East, held a conference call with Jewish leaders on Friday in which he said that the Palestinians had indicated that they would move forward with talks on the basis of Obama’s plan if Israel agreed to as well and that the US was now waiting for Israel’s answer, according to participants on the off-the-record call.
They said Simon also noted that the US was reasonably confident the Palestinians would abandon their effort to go to the UN in the case of such a scenario.
First, note that the implications of the Obama plan are that Israel must, as a precondition to negotiations, agree to return to 1949 armistice lines, in contravention of UNSC resolution 242 that has been the basis of all Israeli/Arab peace negotiations since 1967.
Yes, Obama mentioned “agreed-on swaps,” but if there is no agreement — if the Arabs don’t agree — then Israel still goes back to 1949 lines. And the withdrawal has to take place before negotiations on refugees and Jerusalem begin. If the Arabs insist on a ‘right of return’ and all of Jerusalem, what will Israel do — take back Judea and Samaria?
Second, note that the US has reneged on the commitment it made in the 2004 “Bush letter” that refugees would return only to ‘Palestine’, and not to Israel. In 2009, Hillary Clinton said that the letter was ‘informal’ and “did not become part of the official position of the United States government.”
Until recently, it was understood in the US that a ‘right of return’ for Arab refugees to Israel was unthinkable. Now, apparently not so much. So much for the written word of the President of the United States.
The administration now has a new argument for why Israel has to hurry up and surrender, “real quick,” as my teenage son used to say. If we don’t ‘head them off’, the Palestinians will “go to the UN” (shudder).
But the Palestinians can go to the UN General Assembly with their automatic majority any time they want and get yet another nonbinding resolution, which will mean exactly nothing.
A security council resolution could have teeth — but the US can stop any such resolution with its veto. So where’s the urgency? Perhaps the administration is suggesting that it would not be so quick to veto the next anti-Israel SC resolution, unless Israel plays along?
The Palestinians are playing their role to the hilt as always. They are ready to “move forward” — it’s just Israel that’s holding up the works!
Here we go again, just like the settlement freeze: the tag team of the Obama administration and the Palestinians jointly escalate Arab demands and make it look like Israel is at fault.
All this is just more proof that the administration’s goal is to get the Arabs what they want: Israel out of the territories with no recognition, no end of conflict, and no negation of their demand for ‘right of return’.