Cliff May

Perhaps that’s because he’s been so busy preparing a “unilateral declaration of statehood” that he wants the UN to approve. He wants the U.N. to say, too, that the borders between this Palestinian state and Israel will be the armistice lines left in place after the first Arab war to eliminate Israel in 1948-49. Those lines remained until 1967 – when Israel’s Arab neighbors made another concerted attempt to wipe Israel off the map.

At the conclusion of that conflict, Israel had taken the Sinai and Gaza from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty signed in 1979 and withdrew from Gaza in 2005. (Hamas has been launching missiles at Israel from Gaza ever since.) In the past, Israel also has offered to turn over more than 90 percent of the West Bank but, in exchange, it wants -- and has been promised by both American governments and international agreements – “defensible borders,” which means not quite the lines Arab armies crossed in 1967.

The Newsweek article concludes by suggesting that Obama could do more about the “unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict” which continues “to be an irritant for Arabs and a source of resentment against the United States.” The reason he is not? With elections coming up he would not want “to risk alienating Israel’s supporters by pressing the peace question.”

Ah yes, it’s “Israel’s supporters” who are the obstacles to peace – not Hamas, not the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and certainly not the affable Mr. Abbas. It requires a wicked sense of humor – or no sense at all – to write that.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.