There has been a divided response to President Obama’s proposal that Israel and the Palestinians come to an agreement to return to the pre 1967 War boundary lines, but with agreed upon “land swaps” to create viable, contiguous boundaries for both Israel and a Palestinian state.
Many major Jewish organizations, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, criticized the statement, with Netanyahu doing so eyeball to eyeball in the Oval Office before cameras, and also in a speech to a joint session of Congress, allowing the Republicans in Congress to attack the President’s stand.
Of course, it was all politics on the part of Netanyahu to keep the control of his unstable coalition government in Israel, and also politics on the part of the Republicans, who are so used to lies and deception on a regular basis!
The fact is that earlier Prime Ministers of Israel, including Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, had understood what Obama said, and George W. Bush had made the same statement a few times during his Presidency, along with Bill Clinton in his last year in the White House!
The understanding was clear to those who wished to notice, that Obama was NOT calling upon Israel to give up stable boundaries, and therefore the statement about “land swaps”, which is very different from the unstable situation before the 1967 war.
Also, Obama understood the need for Arab recognition of Israel, and that Israel could not deal with a terrorist government of Hamas as part of a Palestinian negotiating team, and that the US would be against recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations until the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist!
Obama was not demanding any territorial concessions, unless agreed to by the participants in the negotiation, and it is clear that division of Jerusalem, or return of the Golan Heights is unlikely.
But Israel trying to continue to have control of heavily Palestinian territories in the West Bank would be a long term nightmare, and as long as areas of Jewish settlement are secure in Israeli hands, the argument is that Israel is fighting a losing demographic battle with the Palestinians, and should not want occupation of areas that are hard to govern, so should wish for peace, as long as they have a willing partner, which right now seems highly unlikely, in any case.
All that Obama is trying to accomplish is the movement forward in negotiations, but with understanding that there is no quick or easy fix likely at any time in the future!