President Obama’s Speech on the Middle East Goes too FarBeyond UCF, COMMENTARY, Editorials — By Brian Kirsch on May 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm Tweet
On Thursday, President Obama gave what was dubbed a “major” speech on the Middle East. However, the big focus towards the second half of the speech was the peace situation between Israel and the Palestinians. Some pundits are calling the speech a “major change” in U.S. policy.
I am calling it a disgrace.
President Obama today called for the Palestinians and Israelis to come back to the table and start moving rapidly towards a peace deal. Unfortunately for the Israelis, the President is calling for them to move their borders back to what is called the 1967 borders, with minor swaps.
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, who is scheduled to visit the White House on Friday, came out with a statement against that idea right after the Speech. The Prime Minister called the 1967 borders “indefensible.”
He also said, it would “leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond those lines.”
Throughout its history, Israel has had to defend itself against neighbors who have said that the Israelis have no right to exist. Netanyahu also said today that peace will never come until all claims against Israel have been resolved.
If Israel were to go back to the 1967 borders there would be major changes. First, Israel would be forced to give up the strategic region located in the north, the Golan Heights. This region is considered vital to Israel’s security. Israelis say that if they were to lose the region, there would be a significant increase in the potential for attacks from Syria and Lebanon.
The second region would be Jerusalem. Back before 1967 when the Palestinians controlled Jerusalem, there were restrictions on Jews even being able to visit the Western Wall. As the holiest site in the world to members of the Jewish Faith, it would be morally heartbreaking, and emotionally painstaking. However, Obama did mention that he would like to see land swaps, without going into detail on those plans.
As a Jewish person who recently visited Israel, I cannot imagine the country without them.
With this major shift in policy, Obama is putting an additional speed bump to a dialogue that is already in a stalemate. It is unthinkable to me that a sitting American President would call on our biggest ally in the Middle East to give up such strategically, and religiously important areas.
President Obama should be ashamed of himself. And the Jews, who voted for him, should seriously reconsider their views on this President when he comes up for reelection next year.
What you need to realize is that what the President did today was not just talk; he physically changed the U.S. approach to the entire situation. It will be interesting to see if there is a statement made tomorrow by either leader, after they meet at the White House.
The President today also called on Syria to cease all action being taken on demonstrators in their country. He also praised the additional uprisings around the region. He also questioned how the Iranian regime could congratulate the demonstrators of other countries while at the same time denouncing and firing on its own demonstrators.