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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/23/11

Was There Equivocation and Backsliding by Obama Yesterday at AIPAC Confab?

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So was there "equivocation and backsliding" by President Obama in the words he spoke yesterday before the annual "confab" of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee?

In his speech Thursday Obama said explicitly, "Israel must accept the 1967 borders", adding this needs to be the starting point for negotiations with the Palestinian's.

In his remarks yesterday he said," Israel must be able to defend itself" saying subsequently the map "that existed on June 4, 1967 will look different than the day that war began. "It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years."

Now those "changes" mostly have to do with Israeli expansionism and primarily settlement expansion (now numbering some 400,000 mostly Orthodox Jews) in the West Bank. The "changes" also include Israel's seizure of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights (from Syria), the siege and blockade of Gaza and now the 22' wall erected around the West Bank that can only be described as their attempt to retain it permanently. Besides all the major Israeli settlements and their settlers in the West Bank have easy access for them to enter Israel proper while Palestinian's are severely restricted having to pass through numerous military check points even for those few who are permitted entry for jobs, by some known Fatah representatives and possibly for some serious medical emergencies.

In South Africa such a restrictive policy was part of enforced segregation where "coloreds" (all non white people) who were mostly located in settlements ("Bantustans") were severely restricted from entering South Africa proper. Such a policy was part and parcel with South Africa's "apartheid" rule. Israel is following a similar strategy by walling off the Palestinian's. But Israel rejects this characterization of their policy as being "apartheid" saying the wall was built to prevent terrorism and terrorists from entering Israel.

Such characterization is meaningless to Palestinian's who have seen much of their ancestral lands in the West Bank be confiscated by mostly Orthodox Jewish settlers who are subsequently protected and defended by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

So getting back to Obama and his allowing the parties "to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years", (all of which are a result of Israeli seizures as the victor in the 67' war and as since the occupying power over the Palestinian's).

  That is THE fundamental reality and there is no skirting it. Israel was established in 1948 by a U.N. mandate firmly establishing its borders. EVERYTHING done subsequently by Israel is thereby illegal and unacceptable to all in the world except the Israeli's and their main benefactor and defender, the U.S.                

Obama in front of AIPAC can spin and use his considerable eloquence and oratory skills to try to persuade and reassure the hard line American/Israeli right sitting and listening in that audience. Call it "straddling the fence" and trying to please everybody (a well known tactic used by Obama in the confidence he possesses in his ability to get antagonists to mediate and compromise). Domestically we've seen that Obama "naivete" at work first hand particularly with Republicans who react instinctively and resist, being obstinate obstructionists who refuse any attempts of accommodation with him or the Democrats on any measure.

The same can be said of Netanyahu and the Israelis. Intentionally or not Obama's words to the them last Thursday were unequivocal; they need to accept the 1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations with the Palestinian's.

All other words are superfluous to that one fact he spoke plainly to last Thursday.

On that point Obama must not retreat despite Israeli intransigence. It remains to be seen whether he is up to the task.         

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