There is nothing new under the sun.
Nothing Barack Obama said is dramatic. But Benjamin Netanyahu is making it seem so. “He doesn’t get it,” said one Netanyahu aide:
It is perplexing. Barack Obama confirmed for the first time in his presidency the following:
1) A Demilitarized Palestinian State
2) Pressure on the Palestinian Authority not to seek UN Recognition
3) Support for Israel’s anti-Hamas stance
Gideon Levy, an extremely leftist (to say the least) commentator for HaAretz, was even more “pessimistic.” He said Obama had thrown a Palestinian state to the wolves and that it would be an impossibility to achieve. To be honest though, he usually takes the role of spoiler happily. His editorials tend to be, well, pessimistic.
I think the entire battle between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu is theater. By endorsing a state “based on the 1967 borders” with adjustments, he just decided to use the Palestinian wording and not the Israeli one. Reading Arab headlines shows what might be the Palestinian understanding of those words. Netanyahu acting as angry as he is projects an illusion Obama was tough on the Israeli position. I do not think Obama totally undercut the Palestinian Authority’s plan to go to the UN, but he did validate long-standing Israeli policy. Read the op-ed Obama the Zionist from this morning to see what I mean.
The 1967 borders are already the basis of negotiations and the assumptions of the boundaries of a Palestinian state. Palestinians will inevitably be disappointed by how flexible Obama’s words are and that he did not actually mean they would get the Green Line as their border nor the entire Old City of Jerusalem.