Obama’s idea won’t encourage peace, Grand Junction man thinks

President Obama’s call for Israel to fall back to the borders before 1967 is unlikely to encourage peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a Grand Junction man with deep ties to the Jewish state said.

“My gut reaction is that it was not unexpected with this administration,” Joe Breman said. “Israel can never accept it. It makes the borders totally indefensible.”

Breman is major gifts officer for Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He operated a high school for American students in Israel for 11 years.

The flip side of Obama’s proposed agreement is that it would require the Palestinian Authority “and its new best friend, Hamas,” to recognize the right of Israel to exist, Breman said.

Hamas is a recognized terror organization and the Palestinian Authority charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

“With that as a starting point,” Breman said, “there is no starting point.”

Obama’s proposal also drew criticism from U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and a careful response from U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.

Obama “should remember who our allies are in the Middle East, and take into consideration the long friendship between Israel and the United States before making such ill-informed suggestions,” Tipton said. “The president’s timing could not be more inappropriate with the Israeli prime minister coming to Washington this week.”

Udall put the onus on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Saying that Obama “made a bold statement,” in calling for the pre-Israeli-Arab war borders to serve as a basis for talks, “It remains to be seen how Prime Minister Netanyahu will respond,” Udall said.

A settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the United States’ national security interests, Udall said, “But we can’t impose a solution — to be a lasting peace, it has to be one that both sides can live with.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo, said he supported a two-state solution that will and “keep Israeli families safe from rocket fire” and allow Palestinians to live productive lives.

The continuing conflict destabilizes the region “and works against the democratic spirit we’ve seen growing in surrounding countries,” Bennet said.

“More broadly, I strongly condemn violence against peaceful protests for democratic change,” he said.


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