President Barack Obama uttered words Tuesday that would make one believe he is against a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — at least if you judge the president’s words by his own ridiculous standard.
“What we can’t do is pretend that there’s a possibility for something that’s not there,” Obama said during a news conference. “And we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years.”
“For the sake of our own credibility I think we have to be able to be honest about that,” he added.
Whoa — is Obama saying he is against a two state solution? To any non-idiot, the answer is obviously, “of course not.”
And yet, Obama and his administration have initiated a crisis in the U.S.-Israel relationship over a similar statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the recent Israeli election.
“I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said March 17, according to a translation by The New York Times. “This is the genuine reality that has been created here in the past few years. Those who do not understand that bury their heads in the sand. The left-wing parties do it, bury their heads in the sand, time and again.”
When asked by a reporter if he was saying a Palestinian state would not arise during his tenure, Netanyahu replied, “Correct.”
The Obama administration accused Netanyahu of backing away from his support for a two state solution with that statement. But how is what Netanyahu said any different than what Obama said, other than the fact that Obama is absurdly ascribing the fact there won’t be a two state solution in the near future to Netanyahu’s statement and the prime minister is abscribing it to the objective reality of the situation on the ground?
What is that objective reality, you ask? It is that the Palestinians are currently led by a coalition that includes a terror group, Hamas, whose charter says it is a religious duty not only to destroy Israel, but to kill all Jews. It’s hard to figure out what acceptable middle ground there is for Israel with Hamas’ genocidal mandate.
And even if the unity government collapsed, it would once again create a situation where Israel’s negotiating partner, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, only controls part of the territory he would be negotiating on behalf of. Hamas would still be in charge in Gaza and would hardly feel bound by any deal Abbas would theoretically agree to.
So was Netanyahu being a bit undiplomatic during the recent election in order to court some on the Israeli right who don’t want to see a two state solution? Perhaps. But he was also recognizing the obvious — that until a Palestinian leader emerges who doesn’t believe it is a religious mandate to kill Jews, and wields power over all the territory under Palestinian control, a negotiated two state solution is hard to imagine.