When I heard President Obama call on Israel to return to its borders from before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, I was shocked that a sitting American president would say such a thing. Today, I am scratching my head and I find myself asking whether Obama is a genius? I know there are many who are questioning the president’s stand on the Palestinian-Israeli relations. Even top Democrats are starting to question the president’s plan.
Here is why I am starting to wonder if the president didn’t have a bigger plan by calling Israel out on the border issue. As we all know peace talks have gone nowhere for decades. Obama also put the Palestinians in the hot seat by making it clear that they will not deal with Hamas, common ground with Israel. Obama has publicly put Israel and Palestine on the spot by saying this is what needs to happen for there to be peace. In the process of doing so, he has gotten Prime Minister Netanyahu in front of the U.S. Congress and the world to put on the table publicly what is non-negotiable for Israel and where there is room for discussion.
Obama put enough pressure on Netanyahu that in his address to Congress he said that Israel will not go back to the pre-1967 border, but he did admit that Israel will need to make sacrifices for peace to be a reality, and more importantly, he has done it in front of the world. With both Republicans and Democrats speaking out against the president’s actions, it is hard not to remember that “actions speak louder than words.” Right now Obama has kicked off a new round of negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Now, we wait for Palestine’s response, and whether you like what the president said or not, the cards have been put on the table. It is now up to the players to deal.
Now that Obama has said that Israel should go back to the pre-1967 boundaries, Netanyahu has drawn a line in the sand as to how far Israel is willing to go in negotiations with Palestine. The heat is off Obama to actually solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem. By coming out so strongly in front of the world the way Obama has, he reveals that the Israeli settlements and the policy towards Palestine is just that, an Israeli policy and not the official American foreign policy. Looking at this from a big picture view, Obama has shown the Arab world that American foreign policy under his administration is more in tune with that of Arab nations than that of Israel. There is no real threat to Israeli-American relations. It is all smoke and mirrors, but Obama has put the ball squarely in the Palestinian and Israeli court and said it is time to deal, but if they fail to come to some sort of understanding they’re on their own this time and with the Arab Spring happening around the Middle East, one must wonder how much longer Israel and America can take a hard,line stance against the Muslim world.