Friday, May 20, 2011

Abbas And The 1967 Border: In His Own Words

President Obama has now stated that it is the policy of his administration that a Palestinian state should rise in the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps. Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately called those borders “indefensible,” insisting that Obama should instead honor “U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004″ by his predecessor, George W. Bush, in an exchange of letters with Ariel Sharon.

Bush wrote Sharon:

As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties. … In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.

Clearly, Bush's letter can be interpreted in various ways, including an invitation to consider the land swaps Obama anticipates. More important, Obama's formulation is precisely the same as that of Secretary Rice, who stipulated the 1967 border when she kicked off negotiations between Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas three years ago. Those negotiations broke down over the extent of the swaps, not over the principle of using the 1967 border, which Netanyahu now rejects.

As to whether the border would be "indefensible," perhaps it is best to listen directly to how President Abbas conceived of a deal when I spoke with him in Amman on January 21. Much has transpired since then, but I suspect that any reasonable person, listening to Abbas stipulate in his own words the suggestions, claims and conditions he put to Olmert, will doubt Netanyahu's effort to discredit the 1967 border or Abbas as a negotiating partner. You can listen to the entire interview here.


Anonymous said...

You could have added the Bush statements of May 26, 2005 and January 10, 2008.

Achieving an agreement will require painful political concessions by both sides. While territory is an issue for both parties to decide, I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous. I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue.

This about attacking Obama for domestic political reasons, they don't really care about Israel.

Menachem Lipkin said...

Everyone, on both sides of this issue, is making the same freakin' mistake. Obama did NOT say that Israel has to return to the 1967 borders. He said:

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.

Do people not understand basic English? Since when does "based on" mean "return to"???? Every Israeli government for at least 20 years has negotiated "based on the 1967 lines". The security fence is built "based on the 1967 lines".

Further these "lines", a word the President correctly used, are not "borders". They never were. They are armistice, lines. This is a not a pedantic difference. It goes to the heart of the issue, ie that when those armistice lines were established their would be negotiation "BASED" on them for borders.

To call these lines borders and to lie about the president saying that Israel must return to them is as disingenuous as anything you claim of those on the right.

And just so you know you're in good company, all the right wing fanatics are making the same "mistake" (NOT) to promote their agenda.

As I've always said today's enemy is fanaticism, whether from the right OR the left.


Potter said...

Thank you for releasing this interview. Again I can't help feeling what a reasonable man Abbas is. He is not asking for anything that is not just in my opinion... and his patience amazes me but he is running out of it. Also, BA, thank you - this is intelligent ( as ever) and thoughtful and sincere all the way around.

Folks, listen.

Y. Ben-David said...

Abbas is a "reasonable man"? Holocaust-denier Abbas? Did you see all the falsehoods spewed out in the article that was written in his name in the New York Times? He claims the UN failed to give them a state in 1947 when it was the Arabs who turned it down flat.
He can say anything he wants in interviews with gullible people like Bernie when he speaks to them. He never tells his own people that he is going to make a compromise peace. He keeps reiterating his demand for the "right of return" of the refugees which is a non-starter.
There is NO prospect of any compromise peace agreement in the foreseeable future and it is NOT Israel's fault. You don't believe me? Well, why didn't he make an agreement with "peace-dove" Olmert when he had the chance? (Olmert-who offered up all of the Jewish holy places in Jerusalem to the Palestinians under the cover of "internationalization"?) How on earth can he make a coalition with HAMAS and make concessions to Israel at the same time? What about the radicalization that is going on in the Arab world..will that give him the backing to make concessions? All the peace talk is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Free Online Tutoring said...

The hyper inflated reactions such as references to Auschwitz are appalling, and only underline how they will disrespect genuine victims in a pathetic attempt to associate themselves with tragedy as a way to immunise themselves from criticism.

Employment Experts said...

It's a shame that a politician who I look up to would ignore the obvious human rights violations by Israel. It's really a shame that apartheid still exists in this world and I sincerely hope that U.S. policies to diplomacy in the Middle East developing into something more peaceful.

It is true that Hamas is terrible. But in my mind, Obama needs to bring the situation between these two states into perspective and see the tracks of trot committed.

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