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Borderline Treachery
Obama proposes leaving Israel indefensible.


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Andrew C. McCarthy

Would that the president of the United States were as worried about Arizona’s border as he is about “Palestine’s.”

There was less fanfare about this latest Obama oration on the future of the Middle East, staged at Foggy Bottom, than there was about his 2009 Cairo speech. It was, however, every bit as delusional, and twice as treacherous.

As for the delusional, “Arab Spring” devotees are thrilled that the president has morphed into his predecessor on the Democracy Project — the enterprise in which future generations of American taxpayers go deeper into hock as our tapped-out government borrows more Chinese billions in order to stimulate the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the few shovel-ready projects President Obama has managed to find (and as a union, the Brothers make the SEIU look like the Jaycees). There is cruel irony in the Arab Spring hallucination, though, evidenced by this bit of rhetorical flourish: “Through the moral force of nonviolence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in six years.”

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As the president utters his paeans to nonviolence, Egyptians and Iraqis continue slaughtering their religious minorities, and Bashar Assad, the “reformer,” murders his Syrian subjects in the street with the help of his friends at Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization whose day job is running the Lebanese government. The democracy fetish that gave Hezbollah and Hamas thugs the patina of political legitimacy is about to place Egypt under the thumb of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is itching to deep-six the treaty that has kept peace with Israel for 30 years. Speaking of Israel, it is recovering from a weekend in which thousands of “peaceful protesters” stormed four of its borders. Meanwhile, Iraq, which is touted by Arab Spring enthusiasts — and now even the Obama Left — as a Democracy Project success story, just announced that it will show its gratitude to American soldiers and taxpayers by expanding military ties with Iran, the world’s leading facilitator of Islamist terror. Pakistan, when not holding memorial services for Osama bin Laden, is exploding in bloodshed. The Obama administration is pleading with the Taliban to come to the negotiating table; you may recall that the Taliban is the reason our troops are still in Afghanistan preventing the collapse of its fragile “democracy” and the reopening of a safe haven for al-Qaeda. And al-Qaeda’s current safe haven, Yemen, is the site of a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. So much for nonviolence.

The president stumbled into a bracing truth when he compared the change achieved by the people in the region, on the one hand, and by terrorists on the other. The change both are seeking is the same: the creation of sharia societies. Obama and Democracy Project promoters like to frame the Arab Spring as the ultimate rejection of al-Qaeda. But it is, at most, a discovery that there are better tactical routes to the promised land than al-Qaeda’s crude brutality. That promised land is not Western liberalism; it is Islam in all its repression of free speech, religious liberty, and equality — American principles the president spoke of his boundless determination to promote, while avoiding a single mention of Islam or sharia, which make achieving those principles a pipedream in this region.

Speaking of the promised land, the real one, Israel, is apparently getting smaller. This was Obama’s news-making treachery, and its ramifications are impossible to predict, other than that they bode ill.

For the first time in history, an American president explicitly called for a settlement of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict premised on the 1967 borders — i.e., the 1949 armistice line, the tenuous state of play before Israel captured the West Bank (actually, Judea and Samaria), the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights in the Arab war of aggression to destroy the Jewish state. To be sure, Obama said that there would also have to be territorial “swaps” to satisfy security concerns. This caveat, though, is cold comfort for Israel, America’s only true ally in the region.

To begin with, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to point out, the 1967 borders are “indefensible.” That is why they have never been the starting point of U.S. policy, even though they always hover over negotiations. In its implacable hostility to Israel, the “international community” chooses to forget how and why the Arab side first grabbed, then lost, the territory in question. For nearly a half century since the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolution 242, the Washington Institute’s Robert Satloff explains, American administrations of both parties have called for eventual Israeli withdrawal to “secure and recognized” borders, a phrase interpreted as “not synonymous with the pre-1967 boundaries.”

By his new articulation, President Obama would deny Israel crucial negotiating leverage. If there is to be a peace settlement (which there cannot be until there are two parties that want peace), Israel must have the latitude to make territorial concessions in exchange for reliable concessions on security and other matters. It cannot be coerced into accepting an Obama-imposed fait accompli that leaves it fatally vulnerable to enemies whose ferocity is only encouraged by this bullying.

Bear in mind that what are called the “1967 borders” were never agreed-upon national boundaries. The Jewish claim on Judea and Samaria has roots in antiquity. This fact was intentionally obfuscated by Obama’s earlier suggestion in Cairo that Israel’s creation was an ill-conceived payback for the Holocaust, as it is by the convention of referring to Judea and Samaria as “the West Bank,” the name Jordan gave them when it seized and occupied them at the conclusion of Israel’s war of independence. The Arabs, of course, never created a Palestinian state when it was within their power to do so. Thus, the final disposition of this territory has never been resolved. It is a subject for negotiations, not predetermined Palestinian sovereignty.



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