A report Tuesday night said that U.S. President Barack H. Obama would endorse the idea of a PA state when he speaks at the United Nations at the opening of the General Assembly Wednesday – and that he will also endorse the status of Israel as a Jewish state. The report, quoting officials in the administration, said that Obama would reiterate the need for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the PA – but that he favored limited negotiations that would be completed quickly.
Obama will reiterate the deal he has previously advocated in his speech in May before AIPAC, the officials said: the establishment of an Arab state in Judea and Samaria with the border on the 1948 armistice lines, with border changes and land swaps as the parties see fit. Officials reiterated Tuesday night that the U.S. was still working to garner a majority vote in the Security Council against the PA's request for recognition of the state, but would veto the proposal if necessary.
But Obama – and Israel, and the rest of the Middle East, for that matter – would not have to be discussing the merits of a veto versus a vote on PA statehood, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry said Tuesday, if it had not been for Obama's policies that actually fostered the PA's gambit.
Speaking just a few blocks from the UN in New York, Perry, governor of Texas, said that “we would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn't naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous. The Obama policy of moral equivalency which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a very dangerous insult.”
Perry also criticized Obama's plan to force Israel back to the 1948 armistice lines, with or without boundary changes. Obama is the first U.S. president to advocate such a policy, which ignores the entire reason for Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria: The fact that Israel was forced to fight for its survival in the 1967 Six Day War. Such historical ignorance was “insulting and naïve.” Israel, he said, had a full right to Judea and Samaria, and all of Jerusalem as well, where the U.S. embassy would be relocated if he was elected President. “As the president of the United States, if you want to work for the State Department, you will be working in Jerusalem,” he said.
Perry’s speech echoes the sentiments he expressed in his article in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, in which he charged that Obama’s Middle East policies have resulted in the Palestinian Authority leaders “signaling that they have no interest in a two-state solution.”
“It was a mistake to call for an Israeli construction freeze, including in Jerusalem, as an unprecedented precondition for talks,” Perry wrote. “When the Obama administration demanded a settlement freeze, it led to a freeze in Palestinian negotiations…. The Palestinian leadership’s insistence on the so-called ‘right of return’ of descendants of Palestinian refugees to Israel's sovereign territory, thereby making Jews an ethnic minority in their own state, is a disturbing sign that the ultimate Palestinian ‘solution’ remains the destruction of the Jewish state.”
Perry said that the Palestinian Authority plan to ask the United Nations for unilateral recognition “threatens Israel and insults the United States.”
Perry wasn't the only Republican hopeful to express strong support for Israel Tuesday. In a statement Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said that Obama's efforts at the UN to head off the PA bid had turned out to be "an unmitigated disaster." The Obama administration, he added, was guilty of "repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position."