Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Obama Enables Israeli-Palestinian Status Quo He Claims Is Unsustainable

By Josh Ruebner, US Campaign National Advocacy Director
Huffington Post, May 23, 2011

For all of President Obama's repeated insistence that the status quo in Israeli-Palestinian relations is unsustainable, recent developments make clear that his administration has no new ideas or strategies to achieve a breakthrough toward peace.

His statements during three recent high-profile events -- last Thursday's address at the State Department on the Arab Spring, last Friday's bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sunday's speech at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- reveal the president committed to reinforcing, rather than altering, the current state of affairs.

The president made waves on Thursday when he stated, "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." Many analysts interpreted his remarks as a bold, new policy statement that the United States would pressure Israel to revert to its 1949 armistice lines.

Even had Obama put this forward as his initiative, it would have broken no new ground. In fact, ending Israel's illegal 44-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip and returning to its pre-1967 lines has been the underlying assumption of all negotiations for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, the United Nations adopted, with full U.S. backing, Security Council Resolution 242, which reiterates the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war."