If there were any questions as to who is responsible for stalemate in the Middle East, the recent press conference between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama should clear things up. From the Huffington Post:
Showing no progress toward peace, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat alongside President Barack Obama on Friday and declared that Israel would not withdraw to 1967 borders to help make way for an adjacent Palestinian state. Obama had called on Israel to be willing to do just that a day earlier.
The Israeli leader said he would make some concessions but Israel would not go back to the lines from decades earlier because they would be “indefensible.”
For his part, Obama said that there were differences of formulations and language but that such disputes are going to happen “between friends.”
The Israeli government’s refusual to revert to the 1967 borders is quite literally the only thing preventing a comprehensive peace deal in the Middle East, and Netanyahu’s role in this debacle is shameful. He has consistently opposed serious initiatives for peace while continuing to colonize Palestinian land, even the day before Obama spoke about Israel returning to its UN mandated borders.
It does seem however, that the Obama Administration is not bowing to Bibi’s usual bullying. From Mondoweiss:
What stand did Obama take yesterday? What is being signalled? Is it about the alleged two-state solution? No. I think it is the warning that when the Arab spring comes to Israel, as it has already, with Nakba Day, that Obama will not support Israel all the way. Obama saw the ugly Israeli response and knows that he is dealing with Mubarak redux. The Israel lobby wanted an outright affirmation of support. It wanted “the only democracy” language and even explicit condemnation of the demonstrators and support for Israel’s facts on the ground. It didn’t get that. The speech contained no praise for Netanyahu, it gave Israel no assurance on the continued occupation. Haaretz sees the writing on the wall: the American climate is changing, and thanks to Netanyahu we are on our way to becoming “a pariah state.”
I have certainly noticed a shift in the debate where Israel supporters can no longer hurl accusations of anti semitism and ‘Israel bashing’ to those who disagree with their stance. It’s about time the US caught up with the rest of the world who rightly recognize Israel as one of the major obstacle to peace in the region.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.