Netanyahu Doesn't Bend or Bow

Netanyahu actually forced the American President to get off his white horse.

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Fiamma Nirenstein, Former Italian MP

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Benjamin Netanyahu was very courageous in defending Israeli interests in front of President Obama, who, some hours earlier, had used many ways to befriend Islam, like drawing the boundaries between Israelis and Palestinians along the 1967 indefensible borders.
 
And he was rewarded: during their talks, Obama undertook a greater commitment vis-à-vis Iran; he listened to the Israeli Prime Minister who rejected the 1967 borders as they are doomed to war or ruin and the day after, in front of the AIPAC conference, he tried to clarify what he meant: not just the '67 borders but agreed lines between the two parties.
 
Obama's AIPAC speech gave the impression that now he agrees more in condemning Hamas and in judging its refusal of the existence of  Israel as an impossible obstacle on the way to peace. Netanyahu reiterated, in his AIPAC speech, that Israel will not accept 1949 Armistice lines (known as '67 borders) and that the obstacle to Arab-Israeli peace is Arab non-acceptance of Israel.

Last Thursday, Obama managed his speech on the Middle East with the solemn and fiery style of a fearless knight in a shining armor: Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the Palestinians were scrutinized as if under the lens of American justice. But he was out of tune when, notwithstanding his best intentions, the programs sounded rhetorical and empty.
 
For him, the Islamic revolt is waged by good fellows who fight for democracy against the bad tyrants; Obama loves the firsts guys and he will help them, he said. But, in the end, the bad guys, that is Iran, Syria, Bahrein and Yemen, received just a little scolding, and he did not show any American determination in favor of the Green movement in Teheran, or the Syrian rebels, crushed by the tanks. Even after the killing of one thousand people, for him Bashar al-Assad remains a leader who can perhaps be rehabilitated; Ahmadinejd, a mythological ogre against whom the USA is powerless.
 
Moreover, he did not use even the slightest caution needed in the face of the possibility that, after the revolt, masses poisoned by the Islamist message and Muslim Brothers will seize power.

Obama sounded inconsistent in claiming his visit to Cairo at the beginning of his mandate as the basic source of inspiration: at that time the dictator Mubarak was a privileged friend of the USA and the Al Azhar University - where he spoke - one of the Muslim Brothers’ centers. Now the scenario behind his speech was just the opposite: human rights, freedom of expression, gender equality.
 
Obama appeared as a newly converted believer; for him all rebels are copies of the Tunisian Mohammed Bouazisi - who set himself on fire as a protest against Bel Ali's dictatorship - and of Wael Ghonim, the Google executive of Tahrir square. We would have expected something better than a mere piece of homework.

The American interest remained silent and retrenched, not even showing the needed caution toward the new revolutions, maybe because Obama's humanitarian enthusiasm. As to Israel, Obama made a real mess, choosing to mention the '67 borders.
 
Bibi Netanyahu actually forced the American President to get off his white horse. As to the unification between Fatah and Hamas, the Israelis expected an all-out condemnation of the terrorist organization, and they received it at AIPAC a few hours later.

Only at AIPAC did Obama clearly say that it is not possible to deal with a terrorist organization like Hamas. In his speech, he had already taken the step to state that, in September, when Abu Mazen will bring the request to recognize a unilaterally proclaimed Palestinian State before the United Nations, the USA will not accept. He also said that Israel must be recognized as the State of the Jewish nation. Difficult and fair.
 
It was contradictory when it came with mentioning a 1967 that would make Israel extremely vulnerable, especially along the Jordan valley where it would be exposed to Jordan, the Saudis, Iraq, Iran… And it was also contradictory to leave the issue of refugees to a later stage: how can a democratic Jewish State resist if it is invaded by the grand-children and grand-grand-children of the 1948 refugees?

Actually it was the firm stand of Netanyahu during the meeting with President Obama, the statement at the press conference and speech at AIPAC that showed an Israel that is not ready to bend or bow in front of damaging impositions, even if sponsored by the President of the United States.
 
Resolution 242 of November 1967 speaks about "a withdrawal of Israel within safe and recognized borders." These have been also the requests of the Unites States until today. The lines of 1967 would close Israel within a 16 km. width. Obama's proposal of lands of '67 plus land "swaps" implicitly recognizes the right of the Palestinians to those borders. And from now on, they will certainly wield it as a flag.
 
But when Netanyahu said “I don’t accept it”,  Obama was forced to get the message much more than if the Israeli PM would have tried to please him.
 
(Sent to israelnationalnews.com by the author)


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