Obama's Secret Mideast Success

Obama's Secret Mideast Success

 By Gadi Baltiansky, Huffington Post

9.8.2011
via Huffington Post (click for original)
 
Geneva Initiative's Director General, Gadi Baltiansky, argues that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's quiet acceptance of the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations could be a stepping stone for future developments in the peace process. In a piece published in the Huffington Post, Baltiansky calls on President Obama to take advantage of this opportunity.
 
In the midst of social protests sweeping Israel these days, few noticed a report broadcast on the sidelines of the nightly news. The item, on any other day, would have shocked the very foundations of the Israeli public: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it is said, agreed on 1967 borders as the basis for negotiation with the Palestinians.
 
The report is accurate. An official American document, written in coordination with Netanyahu's staff and approved by the Prime Minister, states that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps."
 
The document was not well-received as a basis for negotiation. The other members of the Quartet opposed several components of it, mainly the definition of "Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland of the Jewish people," the equating of "action in the UN and permanent occupation" as obstacles to the two-state solution, and the need to consider "demographic realities on the ground" in determining the permanent border, which essentially legitimizes the settlements before an agreement even exists.
 
Netanyahu planned to accept the document with reservations, in the exact same way that the Israeli government accepted the Road Map (which defined the objective of the peace process as an end to the 1967 occupation) with reservations. In both cases, the acceptance remains while the reservations fade from people's consciousness and from negotiation tables.
 
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
President Barack Obama in the Oval Office in 2009