Turning to President Barack Obama and his speech at the Department of State, about a quarter of the way through his speech today the President says:
So we face a historic opportunity.But, this isn't about Israel and Palestine, but about Tunisia.
About 60% of the way through the talk the President lays out a Four Point economic plan for supporting democracy in the area. It is after that important statement that the President turns to the issue of Palestine and Israel.
I think these are fair and balanced words by our President:
For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.Those are all good words, but here are the words that may cause the most heartburn:
As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it's important that we tell the truth: The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.
We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.It seems not unreasonable to me, except for that "contiguous" part. With the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, how can it be "contiguous"?
OK, so Israel says fine, we are pulling back to the 1967 borders, except as negotiated between us and Palestine. Does that bring peace?
If Palestine won't make any changes to the border and Israel just pulls back unilaterally, will that be peace?
If, after Israel pulls back to the 1967 borders and sponsors a UN Resolution proclaiming a State of Palestine, is that peace?
What about the right of return? What is fair? Or, how many Palestinians being allowed back into Israel is fair?
If, at the end, nothing satisfies the Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian supporters, where do the Israeli People go? Europe? Would you want to go back to Europe, if your grandparents had died in the death camps?
Regards — Cliff