Monday, May 23, 2011

Reflections on Obama-Netanyahu Fued

The Blowup with Israel -Editorial

The president's decision to publicly endorse terms for a peace settlement seemingly calculated to appeal to Mr. Abbas, over the strong objections of Mr. Netanyahu, has had the effect of distracting attention from the new U.S. agenda for the region.

Mr. Obama's intention is to persuade Mr. Abbas to give up his UN bid and return to negotiations with Israel. To do so, he endorsed one of the conditions Palestinians have tried to set for talks: that they be based on Israel's 1967 border lines. But Mr. Netanyahu has not yet signed on, and so Mr. Obama's decision to confront him with a formal U.S. embrace of the idea, with only a few hours' warning, ensured a blowup.

Mr. Obama should have learned from his past diplomatic failures - including his attempt to force a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank - that initiating a conflict with Israel will thwart rather than advance peace negotiations. He may also be giving short shrift to what Mr. Netanyahu called "some basic realities." The president appears to assume that Mr. Abbas is open to a peace deal despite growing evidence to the contrary.

This president likes to portray himself as a pragmatist in foreign policy. In this case, pragmatism would suggest that restoring trust with Israel, rather than courting a feckless Palestinian leader, would be the precondition to any diplomatic success.
(Washington Post)

Land Now, Peace Maybe Later -Jonathan Schachter

For decades, the Israeli and American approaches to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have rested on the key assumption that Palestinian self-determination and a peace agreement are two sides of the same coin. The international community now has focused its attention almost exclusively on advancing Palestinian self-determination, with the link to peace all but severed.

This is no trivial matter. Creation of a Palestinian state in the absence of a peace agreement stands to incentivize perpetual Palestinian aspirations to "liberate" the rest of Palestine, thereby guaranteeing that the conflict will go on for as long as the two states exist.
The writer is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
(Jerusalem Post)


The President's Peace Proposal Is a Formula for War -Bret Stephens

On Thursday at the State Department, President Obama told Israelis that "the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace." On Friday in the Oval Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that the 1967 border proposed by Mr. Obama as a basis for negotiating the outlines of a Palestinian state was a nonstarter. It isn't often that this or any other U.S. president welcomes a foreign leader by sandbagging him with an adversarial policy speech a day before the visit.

On Sunday, Mr. Obama said "there was nothing particularly original in my proposal" regarding the 1967 line - "mutually agreed swaps" and all. Yet no U.S. president has explicitly endorsed the '67 lines as the basis for negotiating a final border, which is why the University of Michigan's Juan Cole, not exactly a shill for the Israel lobby, called it "a major turning point." In 2009 Hillary Clinton had described this formula as "the Palestinian goal." Now it's Mr. Obama's goal as well.
(Wall Street Journal)

Understanding Obama's Shift -Glenn Kessler

On Nov. 25, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned a state based on 1967 lines as a "Palestinian goal." Thus, Obama's statement Thursday represented a major shift. He did not articulate the 1967 boundaries as a "Palestinian goal" but as U.S. policy.
(Washington Post)

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