The much anticipated meeting in Washington D.C. between President Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has come and gone.
So what do we know now?
Their meeting seemed cordial and both tried to be publicly conciliatory towards each other but it was clear that a consensus was not reached. PM Netanyahu was nice but made it clear that, though Israel will work towards peace with their Arab neighbors, he was not ready to embrace the two-state solution.
President Obama made it clear that he wants Israel to embrace the two-state solution and strongly pressured Israel to discontinue all settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).
The Plot Gets Thicker: New Middle East Plan Revealed
On May 21 the popular London-based Al-Quds Al Arabi newspaper ran an extensive analysis of Obama’s new peace initiative. According to this report the main points of Obama’s peace initiative are as follows:
- It is based on the Saudi/Arab League plan from March 2002.
- It envisions a demilitarized Palestinian state.
- It mandates a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank that would split Israel into two parts.
- Jerusalem would be split into Arab controlled east Jerusalem and Jewish controlled west Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem would also serve as the capital of the new Palestinian state.
- Israel would forfeit sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem would be internationalized, that is belonging to no one.
Obama Initiates Another First (unfortunately)
In addition, it was noted that President Obama and King Abdullah of Jordan conceived this plan while Obama was recently visiting Jordan.
This is the first time a US President has created a peace plan without first coordinating with Israel.
This is not a good sign for Israel…and for the US in general!
So what does Netanyahu really think?
May 22, the day after the Al Quds Al Arabi article is published in London, PM Netanyahu addresses the nation of Israel on Jerusalem Day which is the celebration of the unification of the city of Jerusalem under Jewish control after the Six Day War in 1967.
He states in his speech,
United Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned or divided.
It sounds to me as if there is little to no give in Israel’s position concerning Jerusalem and is the polar opposite to President Obama’s desire for Jerusalem in his new peace initiative.
What About Obama’s Call for halting Settlement Expansion?
While Netanyahu has tipped his hat at this request and dismantled one or two outposts, the Israeli PM insists that authorized settlements should be allowed to continue natural growth i.e. natural population expansion.
What Does This All Mean?
It means that there is little common ground between Obama’s new agenda for peace and Israel’s new government. There are so many non-starters for Israel that I believe there is absolutely no chance Netanyahu and his conservative government would or even could agree to it without a total collapse of the coalition Netanyahu leads.
In other words Obama’s initiative is, for all intents and purposes, dead on arrival.
What Will Obama’s Response Be?
Obama has put himself in a very fragile position politically. If Obama, after all of his public posturing, does not try to force Israel to comply he risks looking weak and impotent before the Arab/Moslem world and for that matter the world in general. He is investing a lot of the political capital he gained with his election in trying to resolve the Middle east conflict…his way. I don’t believe he will crawl away with his tail between his legs.
This is where we must pray for the President and this country.
Unfortunately, it appears…and I say appears…that he is moving in the direction of being willing to sacrifice, if necessary, the US’s long standing relationship with Israel to accomplish what he believes will bring peace to the Middle East.
Look for the US to put unprecedented pressure on Israel to bend to its will.
I hope I am wrong. Keep praying for Israel and the US.
The God of Israel is in control.
~The views contained in The Joel Chernoff Report are not necessarily views held by the MJAA~