Jeffrey Tobin writes re Obama's insistence that the rapid pace of change means it's now or never for Israel and the Palestinians to make peace:
Following the talking points that the administration has been furiously spinning since Thursday, Obama attempted to explain that there was nothing original or new in his attempt to lay down the 1967 lines as the starting point for future talks. It is true, as he asserted that his line bout "mutually agreed upon swaps" of territory means that the "borders will be different." But contrary to his claim that this is what past administrations also support, the Bush 2004 letter let it be known that the United States supported Israel's claims on Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs. Obama is neutral about Israel's borders. That is why the Palestinians view his support of the 1967 borders as a green light for them to refuse to talk unless Israel agrees to surrender every inch of territory.
Even worse, Obama's lecture about why Israel must make further concessions in spite of Arab intransigence was condescending and somewhat misleading. Obama said that demographics and technology mean the status quo can't be sustained and implicitly accused Israel of "procrastination." But Israel has already offered the Palestinians a state in virtually all of the West Bank, part of Jerusalem and Gaza and been turned down twice. Even the supposedly right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has made its commitment to a two-state solution clear. Obama says Israel can't wait "another decade or two or three decades" to make peace. But Israel has been trying to make peace for 63 years. The world may be "moving too fast" to wait for peace but why must he lecture the Israelis when it is the Palestinians who refuse to talk, let alone recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn? Why? Because in his ("progressive," elitist) worldview, Israel is the bad guy and Palestinians are the suffering victims of colonialist, imperialist, occupying oppressors, that's why. Also because, pace the targeted killing of Osama, sucking up to the Arab/Muslim world is Obama's default setting.
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