President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have wrapped up their meeting about the future of the Middle East. Obama tried to reassure the American and Israeli people that the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel is sound.
Yesterday, President Obama called on Israel to go back to its borders of 1967, which put the Jewish State at just 9 miles wide. Netanyahu immediately rejected that call yesterday and rejected it again in front of the world today.
“Israel cannot go back to 1967 lines,” Netanyahu said. “We can’t go back to the indefensible lines.”
Throughout his remarks, Obama claimed the goal of his administration is for Israel to be a secure state living in peace next to a contiguous Palestine. In order for Palestine to be contiguous, Israel would have to be divided into two.
Netanyahu said in order to have real peace based on undeniable facts, the Palestinians would have to recognize Israel’s right to exist and that negotiating with Hamas would be to negotiate with the Palestinian equivalent of Al Qaeda. Hamas is a terrorist organization and has fired thousands of rockets into Israel with a goal of killing innocent men, women and children.
“Israel cannot negotiate with a Palestinian government that's backed by Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas has just attacked you, Mr. President, and the United States for ridding the world of bin Laden. “
Netanyahu gave Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a choice: stand with Hamas or make amends and peace with Israel. He also called for Abbas to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem in the context of a Palestinian state, not within the borders of Israel.
“The Arab attack in 1948 on Israel resulted in two refuge problems: Palestinian refugee problem and a Jewish refugee, roughly the same number who were expelled from Arab lands. Now tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refuges but the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Now, 62 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel, ‘Accept the grandchildren and the great grandchildren of these refugees,’ thereby wiping out Israel’s future as a Jewish state. It’s not going to happen. Everybody knows it’s not going to happen. And I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly, it’s not going to happen,” Netanyahu said. “It’s not going to be resolved within the Jewish state.”
During their conversation, Obama and Netanyahu also talked about the situation in Syria, the Arab Spring and the efforts of Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, but it is clear the focus of their conversation was centered on the relationship between Israel and Palestine.
“We share your hope and your vision for democracy in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “Israel wants peace, I want peace. What we all want is a peace that will be genuine, that will hold, that will endure.”
Obama reiterated his belief in the meeting that it is inappropriate for Iran to have nuclear weapons and said the U.S. and Israel continue to share deep concerns about Iran.
“We don’t have a lot of margin for error,” Netanyahu said. “History will not give the Jewish people another chance.”
A peace based on anything else but reality will not last. Oliver North put it perfectly in his reaction to the meeting by saying this isn’t about an election for Netanyahu; this is about the survival of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.
Although the meeting was tense, Netanyahu said there is an overall direction he wishes to take to work with the United States in order to pursue a real, genuine peace, showing faith in the American people to do the right thing.
“You are a leader of a great people, the American people, and I’m the leader of a much smaller people. It’s a great people too. We’ve been around for almost 4,000 years. We’ve experienced struggle and suffering like no other people. They’ve gone through expulsions and massacres and the murder of millions, but I can say that even at the nadir of the Valley of Death, we never lost hope and we never lost our dream of reestablishing a sovereign state and an ancient homeland of Israel. Now it falls on my shoulders, as the Prime Minister of Israel, at a time of extraordinary instability and uncertainty in the Middle East, to work with you, to fashion a peace that will ensure Israel’s security and will not jeopardize it’s survival. I take this responsibility with pride, but with great humility,” Netanyahu said.