Printed letters, June 3, 2011
Two letters to the editor were published recently, relative to the ongoing Israel/Palestine conflict. One was the usual writer taking an opportunity to denigrate the president and the other in support. Both started from assuming an incomplete exposition of what the president said relative to the 1967 boundaries.
He said the boundaries should be a starting point for land swaps concluding with contiguous boundaries for a Palestinian state. All negotiations to date have made that assumption. Obama only stated the obvious.
The United Nations, which endorsed the establishment of Israel in the first place, has said that all land within the ‘67 boundaries are occupied — meaning not permanent — and should be considered Palestinian land.
Have you looked at a current map of Israeli settlements within the “occupied” ‘67 boundaries? Many elements within Israeli society consider all lands west of the Jordan River to be rightfully belonging to Israel. That means virtually no Palestinian state.
There are Israeli settlements within the entire ‘67 boundaries. The settlements were deliberately established to be “anchors” or” fait accomplis” in taking land assumed to be Palestinian territory. A map of the land within the ‘67 boundaries and where the settlements are looks like northern Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, if you consider each settlement as a “lake.”
Since even before the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs have been going back and forth with violent actions against each other. Netanyahu represents the far right in Israel, which believes that since the ‘67 war was started by the Arabs and decisively won by Israel all of the disputed land rightfully belongs to Israel, thus the settlements are a “fait accompli” in re-establishing their claim to the land.
If the United States has a role in getting the two parties together — which I think may be dubious — how could Obama have said anything other than what he did?
Netanyahu was clear that 1967 borders won’t work
After a naive and rather glib speech delivered by President Barack Obama recently, regarding solutions to diffuse tension between Palestinians and Israelis, a powerful, and brilliant statesman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the floor in a “frosty” meeting with the president in the Oval Office at the White House.
He went head-to-head with Obama in response to his plan that Israel return to the borders established prior to the 1967 war with Egypt.
Media buzz was intense as the timing of this statement was made the very day before Prime Minister Netanyahu was to visit the White House, and it hit like an explosion.
Broadcast live before millions around the world, the prime minister looking directly into the face of Obama, fired, “That will not happen, the borders of 1967 are indefensible, we cannot go back.”
Netanyahu pointed out that it is difficult to negotiate with the Palestinians, as they have denied the right of Jews to exist. He also suggested this idea of Israeli negotiations with the Palestinians would be like the United States attempting negotiations with al-Qaida. “There is no margin for error,” he said. “History will not give the Jewish people another chance.”
Although Netanyahu stated he was ready to make generous compromises, he was quick to add, “Changing these borders would be like committing suicide.”
The entire report was a stunning portrait of both leaders, including body language as well as verbal exchanges.
In this exchange, an inexperienced leader of the greatest nation in the world faced a man he would be hard- pressed to emulate, Netanyahu. The president allowed no questions following the live report.
There are some who believe it would be a huge mistake for the United States to ever turn against Israel. I’m shocked at Obama’s arrogance and disregard for Israel. It has always been a given in our country that if you mess with Israel, you mess with the United States!
Columnist was wrong about Obama and Israel
Charles Krauthammer is wrong again in insulting President Barack Obama by writing that the president has undermined not just the peace process, but the very possibility of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
I would bet that negotiations will continue. Establishing a position is part of the beginning of negotiations. Our own political redistricting problems, with much less dangerous political consequences, show us how difficult these type of negotiations can be.
Yet contrary to Krauthammer’s opinion the Israeli prime minister has indicated a willingness to concede on the boundaries of the Israel and Palestinian states.
JOSE U. LUCERO