This blog is dedicated to matters of national interest that affect the average citizen. But President Obama’s speech Thursday on Middle East affairs demands a response.
The president repeatedly referred to the US with the word “we”. That works in “We the people . . .”, but not in this speech since many, many Americans do not agree with what the president is saying. Jewish groups have already condemned the president’s statement that America believes a Palestinian state should be formed with Israel going back to its pre-June 1967 borders.
America has historically supported Israel. In 2004 “we” sent Israel a letter, signed by then-President Bush and approved by Congress. It said America would never ask Israel to go back to the 1967 borders. President Obama has broken our promise.
In his speech yesterday, Mr. Obama added that both Israel and a Palestinian state would need to have secure borders. But Israel cannot have security with the 1967 borders. In fact, much of Israel’s relative security in the past three decades was achieved because Israel has had tacit control of the West Bank region. If the Palestinians control the West Bank, Israel has only an eight-mile wide strip between a Palestinian state and the sea.
Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu firmly told Mr. Obama (in front of the media!) that Israel cannot go back to the 1967 borders because they are not defensible. Netanyahu would have been perfectly justified to also tell the president that the US should allow Israel to make its own security decisions.
Many politicians seem to believe there will be peace in the region if Israel just gives up more land. But they have already given up a couple of pieces of their territory and there is still no peace. Considering that every time Israel has given up land, they have been asked to give more, President Obama’s proposal would not cause surrounding nations to be satisfied. Most of the non-Jewish citizens of the region want Israel wiped off the map. The violence against the Jews occurs on the national scale and on an individual one. A few months ago a Jewish family was murdered in their home by Palestinians, and non-Jews passed out cookies on the street to celebrate. Muslims in the Middle East have become far less tolerant of anyone not of their faith. Coptic Christian churches in Egypt are being burned down regularly since the change of government in February.
It is likely Israel will never have the kind of security western nations have. It is surrounded by ardent enemies who do not want Israel to exist. On May 11, Cleric Yunis Al-Astral said on Al-Aqsa TV that insects and lethal bacteria are not as bad as the Jews.* The president of Iran has repeatedly said the World War II Holocaust never happened and calls for the extermination of all Jews.
President Obama’s use of “we” clearly showed he was claiming to speak for the American people. When doing that he should not be promoting policy or ideas that represent the views of only a small group of political “elites”. Since this policy stance has not been approved by the US Congress, it should not be promoted on the world stage. It is deeply disappointing that our president would violate the trust of so many of our citizens and betray one of our allies.
* Al-Aqsa TV (www.aqsatv.ps) broadcast from Gaza. The Middle East Media Research Institute, based in Washington, DC, provides an approx. 2 minute translation of the 12 minute interview.