Just keep moving along… I admit I raised an eyebrow when I first heard the suggestion that the President may have made some dramatically new pronouncements with respect to a purported overall settlement between Israel and its Palestinian houseguests, but Jeffrey Goldberg writing in Atlantic correctly observes that the basic policy is… unchanged from prior understood policy.
Indeed, this piece by Aluf Benn in Haaretz observes that Obama actually handed Netanyahu a major diplomatic victory, rather than any kind of snub to Israel (whose leader visits the White House today). The reason is that while many sound-bite fed Americans will hear “’67 borders” and turn their brains off, everyone else on Earth (including in Israel) will note that the speech referred to the supremacy of discussing Israel’s security arrangements and delayed and gradual Israeli military withdrawals from West Bank were thrown out there, along with deferred negotiations on the hot-buttons of Jerusalem and refugees. And of course:
More importantly, Obama scornfully rejected the Palestinian initiative to attain recognition at the United Nations and to isolate Israel, demanded the Palestinians return to negotiations, and called on Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. These points came straight out of the policy pages of the Prime Minister’s Bureau in Jerusalem. Netanyahu could not have asked for more: Obama outright rejects Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recognition campaign, as well as the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.
It seems that the new Fatah-Hamas unity has saved Netanyahu from a much more aggressive and binding speech on the part of Obama.
Obama could have also delivered his Mideast speech during the impending AIPAC conference, which he will attend this coming Sunday.
If that’s “throwing Israel under a bus” as
some opportunistic intellectual whore Mitt Romney suggests… it’s a bus with a pretty damned high clearance.