President Barack Obama wants Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders, with a few minor agreed upon swaps. He might as well have told the Jews living in Israel to pack up their belongings and leave or take their chances in the Hell that Hamas has waiting for them.
In his stab-Israel-in-the-back speech delivered on Thursday at the State Department, Obama declared:
The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
Obama waited towards the end of his speech on the Middle East and North Africa to throw our most reliable Mideast ally, and the region’s only true democracy, under the bus. His timing, on the eve of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House on Friday, could not have been more provocative.
Prime Minister Netanyahu did not waste any time in reacting to Obama’s gambit. He said that Israel would object to any withdrawal to “indefensible” borders, which the pre-1967 borders would most certainly be.
A future attack launched from the pre-1967 lines against Israel’s nine-mile-wide waist at its narrowest point could easily split the country in two. Most of its national infrastructure (airports, industries, and inter-city highways) and population centers would be fully exposed to hostile fire from military forces deployed along the adjacent West Bank hill terrain, which would serve as an ideal platform of attack for Arab military forces. The Golan Heights would provide the Syrians with the same strategic military position to threaten Israeli civilians living below. Protecting against infiltration by Palestinian terrorists would be virtually impossible.
Obama’s inclusion of a demand for a “contiguous” Palestinian state encompassing Gaza and the West Bank would also have the effect of splitting Israel in two.
In short, the pre-1967 borders are not defensible because they do not provide Israel with sufficient buffer depth to enable Israel to protect itself against terrorist incursions, as well as to ensure a defeat of conventional military assaults if Israel is once again attacked.
To illustrate Israel’s profound vulnerabilities if it returned to the pre-1967 borders, here is a map of what those borders would look like:
Israel has returned Sinai to Egypt. Under the terms of the peace treaty Israel signed with Egypt, there has been more than thirty years of relative peace between the two countries. However, that peace is now threatened as a result of the so-called Arab Spring Obama is so proud of, which swept Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power and left a vacuum that is likely to be filled by the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
And what does the Muslim Brotherhood have in mind for Israel? A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muhammad Ghannem, provided the answer to the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam:
the people should be prepared for war against Israel
Israel withdrew from Gaza unilaterally in 2005, after entering into detailed security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority. When Hamas took over Gaza completely in 2007, the agreed upon security arrangements fell by the wayside as the terrorist organization launched thousands of rockets into populated areas of Israel, targeting and killing civilians including children.
At least President Obama recognized in his State Department speech that Hamas is not to be trusted. He criticized the ongoing rocket attacks and other terrorist acts by Hamas and its allies and the long-standing Palestinian culture of hate. Israelis, he said, have had to live
with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them
Obama even acknowledged that Hamas’s participation in the new Palestinian government
raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel
And he asked rhetorically
how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist
Yet, rather than first insist on the logical condition that such a terrorist party – namely, Hamas – be excluded from the Palestinian government and repudiated by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama told the Israelis to never mind and just turn the clock back to pre-1967.
Obama seeks to define in advance the Palestinian-Israeli borders, after which the “emotional issues” of Jerusalem and return of the Palestinian refugees would be negotiated. What kind of leverage would Israel have then, especially when the Obama administration has declared previously that East Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians?
Obama is essentially telling Israel: Give up all defensible borders first — then take your chances on Jerusalem and the Palestinians’ claim to a “right of return.”
All of these issues are inextricably linked. Why didn’t Obama insist, in his same speech telling the Israelis what they must do for “peace,” that the Palestinians must renounce once and for all their bogus claim for the right of millions of descendents of the original refugees to return to their so-called “homes” within Israel’s pre-1967 borders?
As Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement, issued in response to Obama’s speech, pointed out:
Without a solution to the refugee issue by settling them outside of Israel, no territorial concessions will end the conflict. Equally, the Palestinians, and not just the United States, must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and any peace agreement with them must end all claims against Israel.
Whatever intentions Obama may have had in making his reckless proposal, his meddling where he does not belong will likely make the Jews’ historic and legitimate homeland a living Hell.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.