Heavyweight Champ Joe Lewis (Photobucket Commons) -
Can Obama throw down like this guy when push comes to shove in the international arena to forge a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, a feat similar to training a cougar and a grizzly bear to get along with each other, especially when Israel is adept at making Congress bark like a trained seal?
Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, known as a cagy, in-your-face street fighter, wasted no time in taking the fight to President Obama one day after Obama announced that it was time for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a two-state peace solution based on an Israeli return to the 1967 borders. Casting White House decorum aside, Netanyahu, who personifies Israeli intransigence, myopia and condescension toward Palestinians AND the United States government, and who had already been throwing long jabs in the Media right after his speech on Thursday, May 19th - more or less calling the President a space cadet - moved in for some heavy body blows right in a White House dignitary room while the world media caught it all on camera.
Netanyahu not only told Obama Hell NO we aren't going to go back to the 1967 borders while he did a gladiatorial stare-down toward the President, but he then proceeded to patronizingly lecture Obama on the Middle East and how to relate to the Palestinians while pulling out all the standard propaganda tear-jerker stops he could muster. Clearly, Netanyahu was trying to establish (some would say reestablish ) his dominance over Barack in the world arena by the classic maneuver of bearding the lion in his own den.
But whether he succeeded in undermining the White House's new strategy for peace in the Middle East is too early to tell. From what we did see though, the President was taking the blows rather stoically, cringing a bit, but he may just be biding his time before he begins to counterpunch the Chutzpah Champ and his seconds in the next media round. Let's hope so! Otherwise, he may as well just throw in the towel as America becomes more and more irrelevant in the Middle East other than as a conduit for Israeli arms and ambitions.
Here is an MSNBC.com recording of the exchange:
Here is, as well, a much shorter video excerpt of the White House confrontation and report upon it by al Jazeera:
Israel is prepared to make "generous" concessions for peace in the Middle East, but cannot go back to the country's "indefensible" 1967 borders, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following White House talks with Barack Obama.
Netanyahu's comments came after Obama, the US president, had said the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps, should form the basis for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, in a major speech on the Middle East on Thursday.
"A peace based on illusions will crash upon the rocks of Middle Eastern reality... I think for peace the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities," Netanyahu said.
He said that a return to those borders was impossible because the region had seen "demographic changes".
"While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 borders because these borders are indefensible."
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas responded to the statements, calling on Obama to further press Israel to accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
"Netanyahu's position is an official rejection of Mr Obama's initiative, of international legitimacy and of international law," said Nabil Abu Rudeina.
In statements made after their talks, both Obama and Netanyahu rejected the involvement of Hamas in peace negotiations, following the recent Palestinian unity deal involving the group and Abbas' Fatah faction.
Netanyahu said that Abbas would have to chose between "peace with Israel and his pact with Hamas".
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