Palestine – Obama’s Befuddled Thinking Sends Peace Prospects Sinking

October 26, 2012 by David Singer
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President Obama has dramatically lowered his support for Israel over the past four years when one compares his latest response to a questionnaire from the American Jewish Committee to the answers he provided  before the 2008 elections…writes David Singer.

President Obama’s 2012 response is both vague and essentially directionless:

Last year, I stood before the United Nations General Assembly to address the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition of statehood.I believe now, as I did then, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. However, I continue to believe that lasting peace will only come from direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves and not from unilateral Palestinian actions at the United Nations. That is why I made it clear that there can be no short-cuts to peace, and called on the world to recognize the legitimacy of Israel and its security concerns as a Jewish, democratic state.

We cannot impose peace or any final status details on the Israelis and Palestinians. Ultimately, it is up to the two parties to take action. Final status issues can only be resolved by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves. What we can do is state frankly what is widely known: that a lasting peace will involve two sovereign, independent states. And I am convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. However, my Administration has made it clear that Israelis cannot be expected to negotiate with a partner that refuses to recognize its right to exist. That’s why it’s imperative that Hamas abides by the Quartet conditions to renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and abide by past agreements.

His response was far more direct four years ago –  indicating the parameters of the two-state solution he then envisaged should be the outcome of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization through it’s agreed negotiating entity – the Palestinian Authority (PA) .

The United States cannot dictate the terms of a final status agreement. We should support the parties as they negotiate these difficult issues, but they will have to reach agreements that they can live with. In general terms, Israel clearly must emerge in a final status agreement with secure borders. Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital, and no one should want or expect it to be re-divided. As for refugees, the Palestinians will need to reinterpret the notion of a right of return in such a way that will preserve Israel as a Jewish state, while Israel would likely contribute to international compensation for the refugees.

 But these details are for the parties to decide. While negotiations are ongoing, both sides should take steps to improve conditions on the ground, so that people believe they have a stake in the process.

The following differences between Obama 2008 and Obama 2012 are starkly evident:

  • President Obama would find it virtually impossible to criticize the PA acquiring “a state of its own” by demanding as a necessary condition that all 5000000 Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem be expelled from their homes and businesses.
  • The Palestinian Arabs deserved right to a state is timeless – no matter how many offers made by Israel are rejected by the PA. With that kind of Presidential mind set – Arab rejectionism of such a state – first proposed in 1937 and rejected  on many occasions since then – is bound to continue without fear of any political consequences from America.
  • Whilst direct negotiations still remain the pathway to create any such  Palestinian State – the President is apparently prepared to allow those negotiations to continue to be stalled indefinitely without any express policy being proposed by him as a possible circuit breaker. Such Presidential inertia can only encourage the PA to prolong the resumption of negotiations until its demands to return to the negotiating table are first agreed on by Israel.
  • Whilst President Obama states that he has called on the world to recognise the legitimacy of Israel and its security concerns as a Jewish democratic State – he makes no similar direct call on the Palestinian Arabs.
  • Gone are the 2008 pronouncements on secure borders, Jerusalem, and refugees – positions agreed on in an exchange of letters in 2004 between Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W Bush. President Obama’s abandonment of his predecessor’s commitments will only embolden the PA to maintain its rejectionist stance on each of these issues.

Ironically the President’s stated policy positions will please many Jewish voters who want to see an end to the two- state solution and further expansion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank – where sovereignty still remains unallocated.

It will equally please many Arab voters who are girding up to push the idea of just one state west of the Jordan River where they believe the Arabs living there would eventually become the majority population.

But most Jewish and Arab voters would sense that continuing to state what he says is “widely known” – that lasting peace will involve two sovereign independent states – is at best a pipe dream and far removed from the reality that has seen this objective still unachieved after nineteen years of fruitless negotiations.

President Obama’s latest response to the American Jewish Committee certainly guarantees the two-state solution is not going to happen if he is re-elected for a second term.

It also ensures that Israel will be left to hang out to dry by America as calls to divide Jerusalem are increased, territorial adjustments to the 1967 armistice lines in the quest to ensure Israel’s national security are ignored and calls for the unconditional right of return of millions of Palestinian Arabs and their descendants into Israel are stepped up.

As Israel continues to be delegitimised and denigrated as the national homeland of the Jewish people  in pursuit of these Arab objectives – a second term President Obama will maintain a studied silence.

If a week is a long time in politics –  the next four years will prove to be an eternity for any prospects for peace if President Obama makes it to the White House again and the present status quo is allowed to continue.


David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


6 Responses to “Palestine – Obama’s Befuddled Thinking Sends Peace Prospects Sinking”
  1. michael says:

    Australian Jews follow their American cousins when it comes to Politics.

    The only difference is perhaps where the majority of American Jews vote for Democrats and not for the party that supports Israel’s interests the best likewise in Australia a large percentage vote for Labour who and a smaller percentage mainly Younger Australian Jews who have been mainly influenced by anti- Zionist Academia vote for the anti- Israel Green party.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Electoral realities seem to demonstarte that, in NSW at least, the Jewish segment favours greately the Liberal Party. In fact Wentworth is, by far, one of the safest Liberal seat in the country.
      Yes, we have seen among the elitte leadership of the NSW community a parade of strong Labor supporters, most still up there, but they do NOT represent the electorate.
      I remember attending once a Liberal Party meeting in Rose Bay electorate. They were more Jews there that at the NSW Jewish Board of Deps. plenums, which I also used to attend until I realised that the Liberal Party was more Jewish than the Board.

      • Shirlee. says:

        The problem is the ‘right’ thinkers have no time for the ‘fun and games’ played out by the B of Deps., which in turn can’t see why more people don’t participate.

        Otto you should come to the meetings and then I mightn’t be the only person who has the guts to open my big mouth and tell it how it is.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    What is most laughable, farcical, indeed logically redundant is the oft peddled notion of America’s “non-involvement” in the whole ME affair, the fake statement that the two parties, Israel and the PA can only resolve the situation strictly by themselves. In a ridiculous way it states that the US no longer has a ME foreign policy involvement etc. We know that this is a back-hand notion of a lamentable attempt at appeasing the increasingly radicalised immediate Israel neighbouring Arab world. This is a veiled statement of loss of influence by the genuine American interest in having a secure Israel within the inextricable hostile Arab environment.

    Under the alarming increase of Islamic radicalism, Israel is more than ever the indispensible causa belli at the fundamental core of the entire JIHADIST dogma.

    Curiously enough Israel is serving as the war cry to the emphatic expansion of Islamism throughout the world. This statement is so pedestrian that it has become a boring given. Yet, it is passed as insignificant precisely by those who are affected just as much as Israel, and that is THE ENTIRE non Islamic world. The PR international strategy is working so well that the hitherto unimaginable has now a life of its own : societies responsible for fainess and rason, such as Scandinavian countries have become becons of anti Israel policies, little Swedesh towns declare support for BDS and, why not, Australian political segments – however numerically small – such as the vociferous Greens have joined the same jihad in a circus of irresponsible selfdestruction.
    Thus, so far the scoreboard does not favour the rational mind-set, creating increasing problems for Israel and anyone left internationally in upholding Western, civilised values.
    The islamist onslaught is progressing incerdibly well at everybody else’s irretrivable expense !!!!!

    Obama does have an answer, problem is it only satisfies the wrong questions .

  3. EthanP says:

    And yet Obama will get a majority of the Jewish vote. Jews in America need to start voting there own interests. Jewish interests are not incompatible with American interests. They are incompatible with Obamas leftist interests.

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    Maybe his advisers have had a memory lapse, it happens too you know.

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