Within the span of four days, President Obama gave two entirely disjointed speeches on Israel policy.
The only constant in the two speeches was the phrase that has, as Obama put it, “received the lion’s share of the attention” – “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” President Obama spent the rest of his second speech on Israel to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) backtracking and trying to explain away exactly what that means.
President Obama now claims that “what ‘1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps’ means” is that the result will be “a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.” In other words, he is calling for Israel to return to the 1967 lines that will look nothing like the 1967 lines. Make sense? No.
And not much else makes sense about Obama’s Israel policy. In his first speech, aimed at the Muslim world, President Obama asked, “How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?” He answered this question with an irreconcilable two-step process: First, Israel should negotiate with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority from a point of weakness by beginning with the indefensible 1967 armistice lines, and then, “Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question.”
As for “mutually agreed upon swaps,” if Israel must begin negotiations by giving up huge plots of land by returning to the 1967 armistice lines, then what is left for them to “swap” with the Palestinians? The 1967 lines already assume split control of Jerusalem, and at one point Israel would be only nine miles wide. The 1967 armistice lines are indefensible, as is Obama’s plan.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking to a joint session of Congress, made it clear that Jerusalem was nonnegotiable declaring that, “Jerusalem will never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united Capital of Israel.” The statement was met with one of the 29 bipartisan standing ovations Netanyahu received during his speech.
What President Obama failed to address before AIPAC is probably the most disturbing aspect of his initial Middle East speech. Obama used a word that was not lost on the Muslim world, he repeatedly referred to Israel as a force of “occupation” on Palestinian lands, something the terrorist group Hamas and leftist activists have said about Israel for years.
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Please note that in discussing political issues, candidates’ positions and political party statements, Jordan Sekulow is offering analysis in his individual capacity as lawyer and commentator. He is not speaking on behalf of the American Center for Law & Justice. The ACLJ does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office. Nothing contained in this article should be construed as the position of the ACLJ.