President Obama recently stated in a speech that “We believe 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.”
President Obama’s public statement sent a strong message to Israel about the level of support the United States is prepared to provide to our long time ally.
President Obama’s statement prompted an interesting reply from Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamen Netanyahu. (see the video at the end of this post)
Netanyahu reminded President Obama that Israel’s 1967 borders didn’t encourage peace but in fact invited invasion by Israel’s enemies. The map of Israel’s 1967 borders shows a very narrow dimension near the middle of the country between what was then Samaria and the Mediterranean Sea. This dimension was actually 9 miles wide. To even a casual student of military strategy it should be obvious that this invites an enemy nation to employ the tactic of striking Israel at this narrow point in order to cut the country in half — divide and conquer.
Given that on a practical level, Hamas is a part of the Palestinian government, and that Hamas has publicly and unapologetically stated that their government charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel, it’s no wonder that Netanyahu felt compelled to engage President Obama in a bit of historical tutoring. (“obliterate” is the actual word used concerning Israel — see the Hamas charter for yourself at http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm)
It’s interesting that after the 1967 Six Day War, Israel absorbed around 500,000 displaced Israelis who were forced out of various Arab nations. Israel didn’t force any Arabs out of Israel but about the same number of Arabs chose to leave Israel on advice from the Arab leadership at the time. They lived as displaced refugees with no Arab nation offering them a home. Yet part of the peace deal that President Obama speaks of requires a “right of return” that permits the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those Arabs displaced from Israel in 1967 to return to Israel as citizens. Because these subsequent generations now number in the multiplied millions, this would result in a Palestinian majority population in Israel overnight, and would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish nation.
Some have tried to provide some damage control concerning what President Obama proposed by emphasizing that part of the formula includes mutually agreed upon exchanges of territory that would allow for Israel to maintain defensible borders.
Can you imagine the U.S. giving California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas back to Mexico? That’s not going to happen even though our reasons for taking these territories from Mexico weren’t defensive in nature.
Israel’s territory was gained in a war that was in defense of its own borders. No nation in modern history (other than Israel) has ever been asked to give up territory it won in defense of it’s own borders. Yet Israel is being asked to do this by our President and others. How strange this is. Israel is smaller than San Bernardino County, California. Israel makes up only 1/6 of 1% of the land area of the Arab nations in the Middle East. Yet no Arab nation is being asked to provide land to the Palestinians. No one’s talking about this.
As Netanyahu said to President Obama, “It’s not going to happen.”
Even though it’s easy to see why the use of 1967 borders shouldn’t happen, my guess is that you won’t see these reasons in the headlines or on the evening news.
The Jews: uniquely persecuted but uniquely preserved.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Prime Minister Netanyahu explains to President Obama why 1967 borders are a poor starting point for negotiations.
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