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A little more than a year later, on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit to Washington to address a joint session of Congress, Obama tried to upstage him by proposing that Israel, without receiving any meaningful concession in return, offer to start negotiations based on Israel’s shrinking back to the indefensible pre-1967 lines with some unspecified minor mutual land swaps. Once again, Netanyahu would not play along with Obama’s shenanigans. During a joint news conference, Netanyahu was the grown-up in the room and delivered a candid, strongly worded rebuke to Obama’s demand for Israeli concessions that left Obama squirming:
This is something that we want to have accomplished. Israel wants peace. I want peace. What we all want is a peace that will be genuine, that will hold, that will endure. And I think that the — we both agree that a peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality, and that the only peace that will endure is one that is based on reality, on unshakeable facts.
I think for there to be peace, the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities. The first is that while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines — because these lines are indefensible…Remember that, before 1967, Israel was all of nine miles wide. It was half the width of the Washington Beltway. And these were not the boundaries of peace; they were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on Israel was so attractive.
After pointing out that Palestinian President Abbas was making negotiations more difficult by announcing his intention to form a unity government with Hamas, which he called the “Palestinian version of al Qaeda,” Netanyahu discussed the Palestinians’ insistence on the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel. “Now, 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel, accept the grandchildren, really, and the great grandchildren of these refugees, thereby wiping out Israel’s future as a Jewish state,” said Netanyahu. “I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly it’s not going to happen.”
Obama and Sarkozy do not like dealing with uncomfortable truths when it comes to defining what it will really take to reach a genuine, secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Sarkozy calls Netanyahu a “liar” for telling the truth, and Obama complains that he has to listen to the unvarnished truth from Netanyahu “every day.”
But, as the saying goes, know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Here are four fundamental and undeniable truths for Obama and Sarkozy to consider:
- The truth about the risks for peace Israel has already taken to no avail, as jihadist terrorists launch waves of rockets from Gaza aimed at killing innocent Israeli civilians including children.
- The truth about Hamas, with whom the more “moderate” Abbas wants to form a unity government.
- The truth about the Palestinians’ denial of Israel’s basic right to exist as the only Jewish state in the world – a policy of rejectionism that led directly to the Palestinians’ present stateless condition and which their leaders continue to propound today.
- The truth about the Palestinians’ insistence on the “right of return,” which is intended to destroy the Jewish character of whatever remains of Israel after reaching agreement with the Palestinians on borders. On this point, Obama should face the truth that his demand that Israel essentially return to the pre-1967 lines, while not simultaneously insisting to the Palestinians that they take the “right of return” of millions of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel off the table for good, is self-contradictory at best.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly in his September 23rd speech, “I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes.” Whether or not they “cannot stand” Netanyahu, it’s time for Obama, Sarkozy and other world leaders to stop whitewashing the truth.
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