President Obama blind-sided Prime Minister Netanyahu and friends of Israel in the U.S. with his call for a return to pre-1967 borders. The President is now attempting to clarify his position. He is in damage control mode.
He assured the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) this weekend that he supports Israel – just as he assured the American people last week in his Middle East policy speech that he supports Israel. But President Obama’s words of support for Israel ring hollow when considering the context of his remarks. In his speech last week, the President implied that a Palestinian Authority containing Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, is morally equivalent to a free, democratic State of Israel.
One has to question whether the belief in this moral equivalence influenced the President’s demand for Israel to revert to its pre-1967 lines. President Obama’s vague language regarding “swaps” of land fails to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty over its own country and its own capital, Jerusalem.
Successive administrations have, with varying degrees of success, continued to push Israel to make more and more concessions. At what point do we acknowledge that Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinian government are always going to be at Israel’s expense because the Palestinian government is not a legitimate actor in the peace process. The Palestinian leaders yearn for Israel’s annihilation and the death of as many Jewish people as possible.
Hamas is not and will never be a partner in peace. It is by no means realistic to think that Hamas will accede, in the President’s own words, to “the responsibilities of peace.” They serve at the behest of the Iranian regime that views Israel’s very existence as illegitimate.
The President had an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the U.S. is not only a friend to Israel but also a champion of its continued existence in the midst of historically hostile territory. He missed the opportunity and instead advocated a position that would fundamentally weaken Israel.
The President’s call for Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders, in the absence of an agreement between the two parties, is not only strategically indefensible for our vital ally, but morally indefensible for the Administration. It is not a reality that friends of Israel can or should accept. America must demonstrate to Israel and the Jewish people true friendship by refusing to pressure Israel to make itself even more vulnerable to terrorist attacks on its soil.