So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. 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. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
“We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history.”
History is replete with the exchange of territory at the hands of war and conquest. How should we look at the modern state of Israel? The above quote by Abba Eban is the famous reference to the pre-1967 armistice lines as “Auschwitz lines” of which our President wants to use as a basis for the two states of Palestine and Israel. Commenting on the President’s speech, Charles Krauthammer sagaciously states,
Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.
The very idea that Judaism’s holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is rightfully, historically, or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.
The point is well taken that President Obama once again has weakened Israel, although more seriously, at the negotiating table in same way he did with the settlement freeze. What exactly are Israel’s concerns with the pre-1967 lines? The video cited below gives a graphic illustration of Israel’s security concerns.
Arab countries make up territory 650 times the size of Israel.
The distance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is 44 miles.
An aircraft can traverse the country of Israel in less than 4 minutes. An aircraft from the Jordain border can be in Jerusalem in 2 minutes. See map.
70% of the population and 80 % of the industrial capacity of Israel is within the reach of hills of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). See map.See map.
The narrowest point of the coastal plain is a mere 9 miles.
Certainly, this is a unique situation as are other things with the Arab-Israel conflict (for example, the refugee issue, water resource issues, and historical revision and false ancestral claims). And this is precisely the point: the world cannot just hand over a state to the Palestinians who have refused offers that even included half of Jerusalem as their capital. What remains enigmatic is why our President would put such stress on any negotiations. Better these issues are settled by talks rather than bombs or bullets or public fiat. God help Israel, God help President Obama.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.