Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pressure mounts on Obama to ditch the illusion of 1967 stability

According to The Hill, Democratic senators are likely to support a new resolution which would show broad, bipartisan consensus within Congress that the 1967 Israeli-Palestinian borders are not only "indefensible", but also contrary to U.S. national security interests.

Senators Joe Lieberman (Conn., Independent), and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are behind the current resolution. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) voiced support, claiming there is “total agreement” in Congress that “the ’67 lines will not work." Other rebukes of Obama's reckless Israel policy include speeches delivered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speech at AIPAC on Monday and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) at the AIPAC conference on Sunday and Monday. Both offered harsh criticism of Obama's hubris of determining borders of a sovereign nation on a podium rather than on the negotiation table.

On the absurdity of transferring populations and redrawing borders as a mechanism for solving problems of national security, George Berkin at NJ Voices makes the following analogy:
How’s this prescription for solving our conflict (illegal immigrants and drugs) with Mexico: Renegotiate the border, starting with where the line stood in 1844 (i.e. before we acquired a large chunk of territory in the Mexican War).
Or here’s a suggestion for resolving problems between Washington and Paris: renegotiate the western U.S. border based on geographic lines in effect in 1802, before the Louisiana Purchase.
While we’re at it, let’s return to the geography of July 1861, just after the Confederate states declared their independence but before the Civil War set things back to right.
Hey, why not? Overturning established borders to return to a previous line of demarcation sounds like a good idea, especially for those unhappy with the status quo.
...The U.S. would never agree to go back to previous borders, no matter how much other parties might promise that doing so would bring peace to the Southwest or improve relations with France or South Carolina.
But the analogy breaks down for other reasons – instructive reasons as we think about how the Palestinians are determined to destroy Israel.
First, none of the examples at the beginning of this post asks the U.S. to surrender part of Washington, D.C., the political (and emotional) seat of our government. But the “pre-1967” borders that President Obama wants Israel to return to would require the Jewish state to hand over part of Jerusalem, the political, emotional and spiritual heart of Israel.
Second, Americans would certainly feel bad about handing over part of the Southwest to Mexico. But no one can credibly claim that doing so would make it nearly impossible to defend what remained of our nation.
Not so were Israel to give up the territories it won – in a defensive war – against its assembled enemies nearly a half-century ago. Some commentators have pointed to Israel’s success in defending itself in 1967 as “proof” that Israel could repeat that military success, if worse came to worse. But having succeeded once before, under remarkable circumstances, is not a solid security strategy.
Third, none of my examples of territorial “givebacks” would be a first step to an ultimate goal of destroying the United States. Again, we would regret losing Texas and part of California, but the U.S. would remain standing. Mexico accepts the U.S.’s right to exist.
...It seems clear that demanding that negotiations start from Israel’s pre-1967 borders will not bring peace. Instead, Palestinian leaders, flush with a “pre-1967” victory, would establish a Palestinian state, and then make their next demand. They would demand a return to the area’s pre-1948 borders – that is, a return to the days before Israel became a new nation.

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