Alleged Obama – Netanyahu Rift
After Obama’s May 18 speech called for establishing a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, world headlines suggested a rift with Netanyahu, misinterpreting what he meant. More on that below.
On May 17, in fact, New York Times writers Mark Landler and Helene Cooper headlined, “As Uprisings Transform Mideast, Obama Aims to Reshape the Peace Debate,” saying:
Ahead of his speech, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he’d offer “some specific new ideas about US policy toward the region.”
Unidentified officials also suggested he might endorse a Palestinian state within 1967 borders. Doing so, however, would represent “less of a policy shift than a signal” that Washington wants Israel to make concessions to restart peace talks – a gesture, whether or not substantive with teeth.
On May 17, after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Obama said:
“Despite the many changes, or perhaps because of the many changes that are taking place in the region, it’s more vital than ever that both Israelis and Palestinians find a way to get back to the table and begin negotiating a process whereby they can create two states that are living side by side in peace and security.”
Moreover, his May 22 AIPAC speech affirmed his unwavering support for a “strong and secure Israel.”
As a result, “I and my administration have made the security of Israel a priority. It’s why we’ve increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels. It’s why we’re making our most advanced technologies available to our Israeli allies. And it’s why, despite tough fiscal times, we’ve increased foreign military financing to record levels.”
Moreover, current regional events and realities motivated his peace proposal some call radical and unacceptable. In fact, “(t)here was nothing particularly original in (it). This basic framework….has long been the basis for discussions….including (for) previous US administrations (within) the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps….”
It’s for “the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – (to) negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” taking into account the “new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples,” no matter his agreeing to all key Israeli demands, excluding what Palestinians most want, assuring no possibility for peace, reconciliation and true Palestinian self-determination.
In fact, Washington and Israel both endorse an Oslo type agreement, a shameless betrayal amounting to another Palestinian Versailles, benefiting Israel, not them, what no legitimate Palestinian leader will accept.
On May 19, Times writer Cooper headlined, “Obama and Netanyahu, Distrustful Allies, Meet,” saying:
Ahead of their meeting, both “men are facing a turning point in a relationship that has never been warm. By all accounts, they do not trust each other.” Obama told aides he doesn’t think Netanyahu will yield enough for peace. “For his part, Mr. Netanyahu has complained that Mr. Obama has pushed Israel too far….”
In fact, under present and past leaders, both countries abhor peace. For example, in the 1980s, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir admitted that Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war was waged because of “a terrible danger….not so much a military one as a political one.”
So a pretext was created for war like Washington’s done repeatedly since WW II, pursuing its permanent war agenda against one country, then others without letup to satisfy its imperial/military-industrial complex appetites.
On May 19, Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, “Netanyahu Reponds Icily to Obama’s Remarks,” saying:
He responded “testily” to Obama’s endorsing a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, in contrast to Haaretz saying he “granted Netanyahu a major diplomatic victory” by leaving undefined the size or locations of a Palestinian state. It also quoted Netanyahu saying:
“Israel appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace,” adding that he expects him to refrain from demanding Israel withdraw to “indefensible (1967 borders) which will leave a large population of Israel in Judea and Samaria and outside Israel’s borders.”
He did, in fact, at AIPAC’s annual conference, showing that those calling his position radical are wrong. They misstate unchanged Washington policy, affirming rock-solid support for Israel, agreeing on all core issues.
Moreover, key Israel/Palestinian ones remain to be negotiated, no matter that Washington and Israel spurn diplomacy and concessions over major ones, including the inviolable right of return and Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital. It’s why decades of peace talks were stillborn and remain so, regardless of political rhetoric, urging their resumption.
On May 20, Times writer Steven Myers headlined, “Divisions Are Clear as Obama and Netanyahu Discuss Peace,” saying:
“Mr. Netanyahu said that Israel would not accept a return to the (pre-1967) boundaries….calling them indefensible.” In fact, Obama doesn’t want Israel to relinquish its settlements, home to about 500,000 West Bank and East Jerusalem Jews.
Moreover, on February 18, Washington vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal under international law. The vote was 14 yes, America the sole no, isolating the US and Israel on this long festering issue. The measure had 120 co-sponsors, an overwhelming endorsement for what Obama rejects.
Nonetheless, headlines keep suggesting a growing rift, including from Haaretz writers Natasha Mozgovaya and Barak Ravid’s May 22 article headlined, “Obama to address AIPAC in wake of tense meeting with Netanyahu at White House,” saying:
“Senior officials (from both countries) expressed a sense of great tension and profound mutual insult following the meeting.” At AIPAC, Obama “is expected to try to stave off further deterioration in US-Israeli relations.”
In fact, Netanyahu “left the (White House) more satisfied than he went in” after Obama pledged America’s longstanding rock solid support, leaving Palestinians out of their equation entirely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com