After returning to the White House having delivered his much anticipated Middle East speech, I imagine President Obama now eagerly awaits news on how quickly and handsomely he will be rewarded by nervous campaign donors who were still unsure about his loyalty to Israel. The cash will no doubt now start rolling in.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state.
Every state has the right to self-defense, unless it’s a Palestinian state. In a Palestinian state the primary responsibility of its security forces will be to protect Israel.
From Israel, Larry Derfner comments:
In his speech on the Middle East, Obama gave the Palestinians nothing and gave Israel a lot, which means he strengthened the status quo, which Israel is perfectly happy with and only the Palestinians want to change. By saying the Israeli-Palestinian border should be based on the ’67 line, he just repeated what Clinton said publicly about a year ago (and what her husband said in the White House a decade ago). What was new, or at least newer, was his endorsement of Netanyahu’s call for a “non-militarized” Palestine – which is a contradiction to a sovereign Palestine, something Obama claimed also to support. And by mentioning the need to stop the smuggling of weapons into Palestine, he might have been giving a nod to Netanyahu’s demand to keep the Israeli army on the Jordan Valley. Also, he repeated his opposition to the Palestinians’ plan to seek recognition from the UN in September. In all, a very, very good day for the occupation. But I think Obama just lost the Palestinians. Abbas cannot go along with this prescription, none of them can. They have to go to the UN, they have to go ahead with the popular resistance, to go out into the street en masse – to the settlements, to the army outposts, to the fence, and hope for the Tahrir effect – to win the world to their side – and for this, they must remain non-violent – and shame Israel in the eyes of the world and force Obama and the other timid Western leaders to force Israel to end the occupation. There’s just no other way. I’d thought that maybe after killing Bin Laden, Obama would have the political capital to pressure Israel. Whether he has it or not, he’s too timid, or too election-minded, to use it. To the cause of peace and justice in Israel and Palestine, he just became a write-off.
Who could have predicted that after two years, Obama’s greatest achievement is that he increasingly makes George Bush look like a man of substance.
To my ear, the best worst paragraph in the speech was this:
That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.
At least when Dubya delivered a vacuous statement like this, he’d make it a bit more entertaining by mangling a few words or making an inappropriate facial expression.