This article was originally published in March ’10 by American Thinker. Although Obama didn’t succeed in finishing the job in the first term, he is well on his way to finishing it in his second term. Given all the concessions Netanyahu has made and the determination of the US, the EU and the UN to impose this solution, what choice does Netanyahu and Israel now hav now have?
By Ted Belman
During the lead up to his election victory, he surrounded himself with a host of vehemently anti-Israel advisors including Lee Hamilton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Gen Jones, many of whom advocated imposing a solution on Israel..
He also made common cause with Jewish leftists represented by J Street and Israel Policy Forum who were urging him to increase the pressure on Israel and if that didn’t work, to impose a solution on Israel.
So it was no surprise that he started his term of office by attacking Israel, America’s best and most steadfast ally, declaring that all settlements were illegal and demanding a complete settlement construction freeze east of the greenline including in Jerusalem. He went so far as to repudiate the US commitment set out in the Bush letter ’04 to Sharon, declaring there was no agreement. Elliot Abrams and others involved in the negotiations which led to the letter, testified otherwise.
This letter also affirmed that “as part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.” Pres Bush had always supported a negotiated settlement and this letter did likewise. Noticeably absent was any reference to the Saudi Plan. The letter also contained a commitment, that ”the United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan”.
By repudiating this letter as a U.S. commitment, Pres Obama opened the way for a settlement to be imposed according to the Saudi Plan rather than Res 242.
He set a goal of achieving an agreement in two years. One year is up, what has he accomplished? At first blush, it would appear, not much. But the reality is otherwise.
He got PM Netanyahu to agree to a two-state solution for the first time and to the terms of reference for negotiations, namely,
- “an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”
These terms leave very little wiggle room so it does not matter that Pres Obama agreed with PM Netanyahu’s demand that there be no pre-conditions or that negotiations not start where Ehud Olmert left off.
Noticeably absent from the terms of reference were Jerusalem and refugees, two items that could scuttle talks and probably will. Pres Obama is on record of wanting Jerusalem divided and not favoring the return of refugees to Israel.