Last week’s speech from President Barack Obama at the State Department drew a lot of attention when he proposed to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on pre-1967 borders. But is Obama neglecting something else more pressing with his focus on bringing peace to the Middle East?
On Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol offered his views on Obama’s policy suggestion and noted how it was rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I was very pleased that the prime minister of Israel did not demand the U.S. go by 1845 borders and have us swap equal amounts of land with Mexico or whatever,” Kristol said. “It would have been the equivalent of President Obama from afar deciding that the particular armistice borders, which led to four wars within 20 years, which were insecure, which were not recognized – I mean, there was no Palestinian state of course between 1948 and 1967. Jordan just governed the West Bank — that somehow now magically these borders have to be the basis for all negotiations. I think Prime Minister Netanyahu rejected that pretty firmly.”
Kristol explained how Netanyahu is willing to recognize a Palestinian state as long as Palestinian leaders say they recognize Israel, but admitted that probably won’t happen. However, Kristol drew attention to what perceived to be larger threats, including Syria and Iran, and questioned where Obama has been on those two situations.
“It’s huge and it makes our reticence in hoping that Syria – the brave opposition in Syria all the more important,” Kristol said. “This is a regime that is not just brutal and authoritarian and friendly to terrorism. It was trying to nuclear weapons and until the Israelis took them out – they were moving ahead, I guess in conjunction with the North Koreans and with the backing of Iran. And it also makes President Obama’s – quietness, or quiet I guess is the noun about Iran recently kind of bewildering. Isn’t the Iranian nuclear program and overwhelming threat to peace in the Middle East? Wouldn’t it generate nuclear proliferation of the worst kind? Should that be the top of our foreign policy agenda, not a probably quixotic attempt to jiggle borders between Israel and the Palestinians?”