by Warner Todd Huston | May 22, 2011 11:25 am
On Friday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu schooled President Obama — who is clearly out of his depth — on Middle East diplomacy. This would not have been necessary if Obama had not tried to turn decades of American foreign policy on its ear, if he had not turned against our only real Mid East friend, and if he hadn’t made to come to the comfort of radical Islamists without conscience who only want to kill Jews and Americans. Obama also proved that just killing bin Laden does not equal foreign policy expertise.
Coming off his high after presiding over the end of America’s number one enemy, Obama thought he saw an opening to help bin Laden’s Islamist pals win a small battle over Israel. He planned his big speech on America’s new Mid East policy. Unfortunately for President Obama, the Hindenburg had a more successful flight than Obama’s new foreign policy ideas.
Most of the president’s speech was pedestrian and meandering, but one sentence was snuck in that completely changed American Middle East policy, or at least it was intended to.
“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.”
Now, many on the left are claiming that this is an unremarkable sentence and is nothing less than the repetition of foreign policy espoused by presidents going back decades. This spin is, however, wholly incorrect. This sentence is a major shift away from Israel and toward the radical Islamists that want Israel destroyed.
Prime Minister Netanyahu understood full well what a major shift this was and during his joint press conference with President Obama the Israeli PM he shot down Obama’s foolish attempt to change direction in no uncertain terms. Why did the Israeli PM so sternly reprimand President Obama? Because Obama’s shift changes decades of American foreign policy in the favor of the so-called Palestinians.
Obama is the first president to claim that the 1967 border goal is an American goal. Previous presidents always couched this as a Palestinian goal, not an American one. This may be subtle, but it is important. The U.S. has never backed the Palestinian’s claim that the 1967 border is a condition for peace. Past American presidents talked of that border, yes, but only to mollify Palestinian sensibilities never as an American goal.
Another subtlety that Obama abandoned was the idea that any peace will be affected by realities of the current situation. In other words, American policy never assumed that the many Israeli settlers that fill the territories would simply be swept away rolled away by the arbitrary borders that the Palestinians wished for.
Past presidents also averred that the Israeli military and security services had to agree to whatever change was made based on Israel’s security. This seems to be another thing Obama was trying to throw out.
The fact is there is not now and has never been any such thing as a Palestinian state. There never has been such a thing as a Palestinian people. On the other hand, the state of Israel is an historical fact both in ancient times as well as today. Any new state called Palestine — while it may be a good idea to create — would be wholly new and without historical precedent. In his zeal to create this new state, Obama turned his back on Israel.
It’s no wonder that the president looked so uncomfortable in Friday’s press conference with Israel’s prime minister. His hands were being slapped with a foreign policy ruler… and rightfully so.
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