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10:03AM

WPR's The New Rules: Obama's Israel-Palestine Red Herring

Much of the reaction to President Barack Obama's speech on U.S. Middle East policy last Thursday focused on his reference to Israel's pre-1967 borders as the basis for a future two-state solution with Palestine. But Obama's speech was far more focused on long-term realities, suggesting that he is not really willing to push for some historic Israeli-Palestinian peace plan against the background of the Arab Spring. In fact, it's fair to wonder why he chose to expend any of his political capital on this deadlocked issue, especially since he had to know that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would reject the 1967 boundaries proposal as a starting point for negotiations, as Netanyahu had already protested that point's inclusion in the speech prior to its delivery.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.

Reader Comments (2)

I think Obama is realizing that the Islamists try to shift the focus from the Arab spring to the Palestine question.The new foreign policy of the Egypt goverment and military coucil is already doing this--with support from Turkey and Iran.The next Gaza flotilla is preparing for the next conflict.And the Palestinians will announce unilaterally their state in September 2011Therefore Obama tries to make some symbolic concessions.Tom Barnett may be right if he says: Israel´s security is first priority, the peace process second and an "eternal goal".BUT: If Tom Barnett thinks that land is not the most important question, but phyiscal infrastructure and connectedness to the globalized world, he should critizise the Israeli and Jewish settlers and their feudalistic land grap.However, Arafat made a big mistake when he rejected the Clinton/Barak proposal because of the holy city Jerusalem.He should have made a historical compromise like Sadat did in 1979 with Camp David. If he wouldn´t concentrate on the land issue so much, there already could be a deal and a Palestian state and in the last decade the Palestinians could have build up their inrastructure and their state.And the other Arab "brothers"? It is interesting to see that there is a South American development bank, an Asian development bank, but still no Arab development bank which could give credit and loans for infrastructure building. Maybe Obama should push this issue as it would mean more concrete help than symbolic policy.And maybe an idea would be building Israeli-Palestine joint ventures (like John Milligan-Whyte proposed making General Motors the first genuine global/sinoamerican joint venture).Maybe there should also be a Grand Strategy for the Middle East.

May 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

What Tom Barnett forgets to metion is the real danger that the Camp David peace agreement is at risk.If the new Egyptian goverment is focusing more and more on the Palestine issue (already under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhod), it is just a question of time till they deman to "regoniate" Camp David. But Camp David is a pillar of Isreali security and therefore a core interest of US policy.

May 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

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