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Obama Reiterates Statements On Israeli-Palestinian Talks In AIPAC Speech

Fresh of a weekend of mostly contrived outrage over his speech on Middle East policy late last week, President Obama spoke to the annual meeting of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee and essentially reiterated what he had said on Thursday:

WASHINGTON — President Obama, speaking on Sunday to the nation’s foremost pro-Israel lobbying group, repeated his call for Palestinian statehood based on Israel’s pre-1967 borders adjusted for land swaps, issuing a challenge to the Israeli government to “make the hard choices that are necessary to protect a Jewish and democratic state for which so many generations have sacrificed.”

‘In his remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the president, while offering praise for the relationship with Israel, did not walk back from his speech on Thursday, which had infuriated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Rather, the president took indirect aim at Mr. Netanyahu, first by repeating what the Israeli prime minister so objected to — the phrase pre-1967 borders — and then by challenging those whom he said had “misrepresented” his position.

“Let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday,” Mr. Obama said in firm tones at one point, “not what I was reported to have said.”

“I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

The president emphasized the “mutually agreed swaps,” then went into an elaboration of what he believes that means. Mr. Netanyahu, in his critique of Mr. Obama’s remarks, had ignored the “mutually agreed swaps” part of the president’s proposal.

“Since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means,” Mr. Obama said. “By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. It is a well known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years.”

“There was nothing particularly original in my proposal,” he said. “This basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s furious reaction last week to what many administration officials viewed as a modest compromise from the more dramatic all-encompassing American peace plan that some of Mr. Obama’s advisers had been advocating, infuriated the White House. In particular, administration officials were angry by Mr. Netanyahu’s lecturing tone during statements the two leaders gave on Friday. American officials were also irritated by Mr. Netanyahu statement directly after Mr. Obama’s speech that used the phrase “expects to hear” in saying that Mr. Netanyahu expected to hear certain assurances from Mr. Obama during their meeting.

Mr. Obama also assured the group that the administration was steadfast in its “opposition to any attempt to de-legitimize the state of Israel,” but he warned that Israel would face growing isolation without a credible Middle East peace process.

Sunday’s audience, which had been quiet, cheered Mr. Obama, although the cheers were far more muted than the standing ovation they had given at other points of Mr. Obama’s speech, like when he talked about Iran and when he reiterated that his opposition to a looming United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood.

“I know very well that the easy thing to do, particularly for a president preparing for re-election, is to avoid any controversy,” Mr. Obama said. “I don’t need Rahm” — former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — “to tell me that.”

But, Mr. Obama added, “as I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe that the current situation in the Middle East does not allow for procrastination. I also believe that real friends talk openly and honestly with one another.”

Not surprisingly, Jeffrey Goldberg at The Altantic, who has been defending the President since Thursday, called it a good speech:

President Obama gave a very good speech to AIPAC: Tough on Hamas, tough on Iran, but also somewhat tough on Israeli procrastination. He understands Israel’s dilemma in the same way Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin understood their country’s dilemma. Israel needs to find a way to maintain its democratic nature and its Jewish majority. Only compromise on the West Bank — yes, a return to 1967 borders, with some obvious adjustments (and the President was much more clear today than he was on Thursday on what the term “land-swap” means) will help Israel maintain itself as a Jewish democracy, and will protect it from becoming an international pariah.

Goldberg seems to be largely alone, though. David Frum calls the whole speech unwise and puzzling:

That was a deeply unwise speech Obama just gave to AIPAC. The president did not ask himself the first question of political speechmaking: Why am I saying this? Instead he surrendered to his personal exasperation with Benjamin Netanyahu, and escalated a confrontation he had every reason to de-ecalate.

The president did not merely restate his view on the 1967 lines. He added extra emphasis on a worrying point that was implicit in his big Thursday speech on the Middle East: that the future Palestinian state will have exclusive responsibility for security arrangements within its territory. So, if a rocket is fired at Israel from the West Bank, it will be the security forces of the Palestinian state that will deal with it – or not. If Hezbollah intrudes into the West Bank it will be the security forces of the Palestinian state that will react – or not. And since those security forces are to be non-militarized, they may well lack the means even if they have the will.

(…)

Meanwhile the president offers as a new benefit something that Israel had always assumed it could count upon in the past: the support of the US at the United Nations

I don’t know whether we have seen the launch of a new diplomatic initiative on Israel/Palestine. The general sloppiness with which this whole affair has been handled suggests that we are witnessing the fall-out of poorly considered improvisations.

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Obama Administration has rolled out a new policy, be it foreign or domestic, and completely mishandled the public relations to the point where the policy itself gets called into question. Even changing most of the people at the top of the communications shop in the White House and bringing in a new Chief of Staff haven’t changed that tendency to bungle. In fact, it may have been bungling by the communications shop that created the confusion over Obama’s Thursday speech to begin with:

If Obama’s position was taken out of context, he’s the one to blame. It was his staffers who were telling the New York Times and other media outlets that there was going to be a major “surprise” in his Thursday address, and suggested that it was related to Israel. With literally nothing else newsworthy in the speech besides his 1967 border comments, obviously reporters were going to run with that story.

And some are arguing that there was more confusion created by today’s speech:

At the AIPAC policy conference today, President Obama created even more confusion over where he stands on Israel. While the president acknowledged that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate a peace deal with a terrorist organization like Hamas, he immediately suggested that Israel needs to try anyway.

“No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction,” said Obama. “We will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace: recognizing Israel’s right to exist, rejecting violence, and adhering to all existing agreements.”

He then added, “Yet, no matter how hard it may be to start meaningful negotiations under the current circumstances, we must acknowledge that a failure to try is not an option. The status quo is unsustainable.”

So which is it? Does Obama understand that Israel cannot negotiate with a terrorist organization bent on its destruction? Or does he believe that Israel still needs to start negotiations “under the current circumstances”—i.e. with a unity government that includes Hamas?

More importantly, why does the United States need to be getting involved in this mess at all. Every President since Nixon has plunged deep into the quicksand of Middle East politics convinced that they could come away as the savior of the world. With the exception of the Camp David Accords, which had more to do with the work of Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat than anything Jimmy Carter did, the record is, shall we say, less than stellar. And yet, once again, we have an American President who, frustrated by lack of success on the home front, is looking overseas to create a legacy:

Obama is simply doing what many other Presidents (Carter, Bush, Clinton and even G.W. Bush gave it a shot) have done…try and build a legacy by solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He’ll fail just like the rest simply because the Palestinians don’t want to solve it by any means other than the destruction of Israel. Until that changes, this will always be a Siren’s Song that winds up with everyone crashing on the rocks.

Middle East peace will come with the people in the Middle East want it, and not a moment sooner. Why Barack Obama is trying to get into the middle of a conflict that will only cause him problems at home is beyond me.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. steve says:

    “Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Obama Administration has rolled out a new policy, be it foreign or domestic, and completely mishandled the public relations to the point where the policy itself gets called into question”

    Yes. He failed to realize that the GOP prioritizes Israel above all other allies. He also failed to realize how much Netanyahu is committed to the right here in the US. He should have known that any statement short of unqualified support for Israel would be spun as anti-Israeli. At this point, we should just tell Netanyahu to f*ck off. Let him solve his problems himself.

    Steve

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  2. Stan says:

    I’m in total disagreement with this post. Netanyahu’s hard line position in favor of Israel’s keeping all of its settlements is disapproved by a majority of Israelis and of my fellow American Jews. A compromise peace is necessary both for Israel’s sake and ours, and the sooner Netanyahu realizes it the better.

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  3. Stan,

    The Israeli people elected the coalition that Netanyahu leads. If they don’t like him, they can reject him at the next election. Until then, I see no reason why the United States should waste its time on a “peace process” that is doomed to fail

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  4. michael reynolds says:

    Israel is not Likud. That’s point #1.

    Likud is a right-wing political party allied with settler fanatics and extremist elements. That’s Bibi’s problem, not ours.

    Our problem is that we need long-term stability in the Middle East. We have a dozen balls in the air and we need them all to come down in something like an orderly fashion. Israel either helps us with that — in compliance with its own genuine security needs — or our obligation to them and support for them diminishes.

    If Likud doesn’t like it, too damned bad. If AIPAC wants to insist on conflating Likud with Israel, then too damned bad for them, too. Because I have news for AIPAC: their power rests on an illusion. They don’t swing the Jewish vote. They swing some money, but they do not move the Jewish vote, not if it comes to a choice for American Jews between our president and Israel’s extremists. Let alone the real object of Netanyahu’s concern: his own political future.

    Can AIPAC put New York or California or even Pennsylvania in the GOP column? No. Is there any blue state they can turn red? No. So AIPAC needs to think long and hard about whether they really want to bet their influence on an alliance with a bunch of American right-wing fundamentalists whose only interest in Israel is to see it destroyed to bring on Armageddon.

    I’ve supported Israel all my life, I’m ethnically Jewish, but if it’s a choice between the interests of the United States and Likud? That’s not a hard choice.

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  5. Hey Norm says:

    Failure at home? Have you heard about the Affordable Care Act which reforms health care…something presidents on both sides of the aisle have been trying to for 50 years? Have you noticed that GM is alive and kicking? Have you noticed that we no longer stand at the edge of the economic abyss that was the Bush legacy?
    Then there was OBL…right…not domestic.
    Obama is not just tackling this…they have been serious about this almost from day 1. This is the keystone of peace in the Middle East. It’s also another thing that republicans f’ed up by forcing elections in the Palestinian territories and getting Hamas elected. As for why he is serious about it…because he’s a serious man who is serious about governing. Unlike the hacks that lied about what he said earlier this week.

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  6. Stan says:

    Doug, if Netanyahu’s policy is so much more popular than Obama’s in Israel, explain these poll results:

    http://tinyurl.com/y8hxy97

    As far as the US “wasting its time on a “peace process” that is doomed to fail”, I feel that a mutually satisfactory settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is a necessary condition for ending or at least reducing Muslim hostility to the US and our allies, including Israel, and I don’t see it as claiming an undue share of President Obama’s time. If he succeeds it will be as much of an accomplishment as his health bill (scant praise, I imagine, in your eyes), and if he fails at least he’s tried.

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  7. Hey Norm says:

    “… Until then, I see no reason why the United States should waste its time on a “peace process” that is doomed to fail…”
    You go to war with the leader of Isreal you have, not the leader of Isreal you wish you had.
    Jesus-God…first Obama is leading from behind…now he’s leading on something impossible to accomplish. I wish he would get it right for you guys…

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  8. Norm,

    There is just as much guilt on the Palestinian side and, quite honestly, I think anyone who expects Israel to treat Hamas like just another negotiating partner is insane.

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  9. Tano says:

    Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Obama Administration has rolled out a new policy, be it foreign or domestic, and completely mishandled the public relations to the point where the policy itself gets called into question

    Is this some kind of joke, Doug? The fact that an Obama policy gets called into question by critics is evidence that the Administration did something wrong???
    Do you imagine there could ever be any policy rollout on any subject from this Administration that wold not get heated denunciations from the usual suspects – irrespective of the substance?

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  10. Tano says:

    I think anyone who expects Israel to treat Hamas like just another negotiating partner is insane.

    Who the hell do you negotiate peace with, other than your sworn enemies???
    We negotiated with the USSR when they had 10000 nukes pointed at our head, and a sworn commitment to bury us.

    Why have so many people bought into this Likud position that the face that Hamas takes an extremist position means they cannot negotiate with them. Hamas is the most important group that Israel needs to forge an agreement with.

    The Likudniks do not want peace. Any peace, unless it entails the Palestinians voluntarily leaving the West Bank entirely. They were thrilled when Fatah and Hamas were at odds – they could claim ‘”we really want peace, but we have no singular entity to negotiate with. Once Fatah and Hamas join together, then the line becomes – we cannot negotiate with the Palestinians at all, because Hamas is there.

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  11. DC Loser says:

    I’m very glad he didn’t kowtow to AIPAC and the likudnicks in Congress. Good for him he basically told them to f*ck off.

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  12. The Soviet Union was a government with nuclear weapons. Hamas is a terrorist organization that straps suicide vests to people and sends them into a crowd to kill civilians as part of their stated goal of destroying the State of Israel.

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  13. Hey Norm says:

    Nor do I expect the Palestinians will treat Isreal as just another negotiating partner.
    But there is too much at stake to just throw our hands in the air and give up because it’s hard.

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  14. I would rather the political energy that goes into this debate be used to talk about problems affecting this country and let the Israelis and Palestinians deal with their problems themselves

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  15. DC Loser says:

    Doug – That’s a rather naive thought, that the Israelis and their AIPAC surrogates will just let us let them solve the problem without us. Okay, let’s cut off all aid to Israel and see how much negotiating they get done.

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  16. Rick Almeida says:

    I would rather the political energy that goes into this debate be used to talk about problems affecting this country and let the Israelis and Palestinians deal with their problems themselves

    Now this is a sentiment I can get behind 100%.

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  17. ponce says:

    There is just as much guilt on the Palestinian side and, quite honestly, I think anyone who expects Israel to treat Hamas like just another negotiating partner is insane.

    The fringe right Israelis aren’t stealing Palestinian land for security reasons.

    They are stealing Palestinian land because it’s valuable.

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  18. DC Loser says:

    @Ponce – Because the religious right in Israel needs its Lebensraum.

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  19. ponce,

    I am far from being an “Israel right or wrong” person, but the Palestinians have been given many opportunities to live in peace, starting in 1948, and they’ve rejected each one of them. At some point, you have to start to wonder about them.

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  20. ponce says:

    At some point, you have to start to wonder about them.

    Maybe,

    But nothing justifies Israeli religious freaks stealing the Palestinians’ land.

    Or are you only opposed to vigilantism when Democrats do it?

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  21. Hey Norm says:

    “…organization that straps suicide vests to people and sends them into a crowd to kill civilians…”
    The IRA used to blow up a lot of stuff too. Netanyahoo benefits from your fear. Let’s make US aid to Isreal contingent on it acting in the interest of the US. Then well see how quickly the tune changes.

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  22. Southern Hoosier says:

    Any peace initiative that allows Israel exist as a state will fail.

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  23. anjin-san says:

    Doug… England once had a price on Begin’s head. He was a terrorist, wanted dead or alive. a little down the road, Reagan honored him at the White House. Read more history. Don’t think in black and white.

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    This sh*t Netanyahu comes to this country and lectures the American President? This sh*t who has his hand stuffed in our pocket? Israel has universal health care that we are helping pay for, when we don’t. Why? Israel is using our (fungible) money to pay religious fanatics to stay at home and study the Torah, while we just cut off unemployment benefits to people who would love to work. Why? If anyone needed to know just how low the Republican party has sunk they only have to watch their officials falling over themselves to lick the shoes of this sh*t. We need to cut our budget? Fine. Cut this ungrateful sh*t off.

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    I’m with Marked Man on this. Enough with this.

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  26. Have a nice G.A. says:

    Middle East peace will come with the people in the Middle East want it, and not a moment sooner.

    Which means not until the end of days. And no, I don’t have a date:)

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  27. Southern Hoosier says:

    anjin-san says:
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 18:06

    Doug… England once had a price on Begin’s head

    Begin is in good company. England wanted to hang a lot of our founding fathers as well.

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  28. Have a nice G.A. says:

    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/anwar-sadats-letter-to-hitler-sept-1953/question-1468621/

    anjin-san things are not always what they seem and do change for the better some times.

    Read more history. Don’t think in black and white. :)

    I stand with Israel, bless them too.

    For some reason I am getting the seething hatred vibe up in here……

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  29. Southern Hoosier says:

    Have a nice G.A. says:
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 18:24

    Middle East peace will come with the people in the Middle East want it, and not a moment sooner.

    Which means not until the end of days. And no, I don’t have a date:)

    Or when one side wipes out the other.

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  30. Southern Hoosier says:

    And England also arrest Comrade Obama’s father for being a terrorist as well.
    http://goo.gl/JCgm

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  31. Jay Tea says:

    There have been a LOT of “peace initiatives” in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I can cite a LOT of concessions Israel has made as part of those processes. Can anyone cite ANY moves or actions or gestures the Palestinians have ever made?

    The Palestinians have had so, so many opportunities to express a desire for peace, and I can’t recall a single time they did it. As the old saying goes, they never miss a chance to miss a chance.

    On the other hand, pretty much every single concession Israel makes ends up just being the new starting point for the next round of negotiations. And they are the only ones ever called upon to make “good faith gestures.”

    I’m with Herman Cain. When the Palestinians are truly interested in peace, they have tons of ways they can show it. Once they do that, then we can talk about a peace settlement. Until then… why bother? It just ends up with dead Jews.

    Which, of course, is the agenda. To make the Middle East Judenrein. How many Jews live in the region outside Israel? Doesn’t anyone think it worth noting that the Palestinians both insist on the right to “return” to Israel and demand that no Jews remain in their territory?

    J.

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  32. ponce says:

    Doesn’t anyone think it worth noting that the Palestinians both insist on the right to “return” to Israel and demand that no Jews remain in their territory?

    The Palestinians will let anyone who acquired their land legally to live in Palestine.

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  33. Have a nice G.A. says:

    Or when one side wipes out the other.

    I have seen studies that show that even if Israel is hit with a nuclear device they will survive and totally destroy the surrounding enemy civilizations forever.

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  34. Jay Tea says:

    How nice of them, ponce. And just what would it take to prove that the Jew got the land legally?

    First, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have declared it illegal to sell land to a Jew.

    Second, they don’t recognize the right of a single Jew to live in any of their territory.

    Third, they define the entire state of Israel as “their territory.”

    So for you to say that “The Palestinians will let anyone who acquired their land legally to live in Palestine” is complete and utter bunk.

    How many Jews live outside the fortified settlements in the West Bank?

    How many Jews live in the Gaza Strip?

    In brief, how many Jews live under Palestinian governance?

    Bonus question: How many Jews were driven out of Arab/Muslim countries in 1948, and had to flee to Israel?

    J.

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  35. ponce says:

    And just what would it take to prove that the Jew got the land legally?

    I would imagine the Palestinians will set up some kind of land court once the U.N. declares Palestine a country, Jay.

    Probably modeled on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation commission.

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  36. Southern Hoosier says:

    ponce says:
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 19:26

    I would imagine the Palestinians will set up some kind of land court once the U.N. declares Palestine a country, Jay.

    Sure it would work great. The UN Land Commission would be chaired by Iran.

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  37. ddennis says:

    Doug, you said:

    “The Soviet Union was a government with nuclear weapons. Hamas is a terrorist organization that straps suicide vests to people and sends them into a crowd to kill civilians as part of their stated goal of destroying the State of Israel.”

    You forget that Hamas was duly and legitimately elected to office by Palestinians in January 2006. It may be a terrorist organization, but it is one that has the legal and authoritative trappings of elected office. You can’t argue that Netanyahu was elected by the Israelis, therefore implying he is legitimate while at the same time delegitimizing Hamas by calling them a “terrorist organization.” I’m not defending Hamas; just showing the inconsistencies in your argument.

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  38. Wiley Stoner says:

    I have an idea for a peace deal. The Palistinians should be told, Like Herman Cain said today, they get nothing in peace deal. What they would get is life. They have made war on Israel since it was refounded in 1948. Just finish that war. Israel should fight with them until they surrender without condition. No more nickle and dime BS. Take the same to Lebanon and anyone else who thinks Jews have no place on this planet. Israel did not start any one of the wars it has been involved in. Half measures by the Israelis have gotten them nowhere. They could have gone to Cairo and Damascus as well as Amman Jordan. Do to them what they would do to you. Kill their leaders and convert them to your religion.

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  39. Wiley Stoner says:

    DDennis, in the same vein as your post, Hitler was elected. Sometimes the “hope and change” promised by elected officials turns out to be somewhat different from what the electing body was lead to believe.

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  40. steve says:

    “On the other hand, pretty much every single concession Israel makes ends up just being the new starting point for the next round of negotiations.”

    Part of the problem is that few know what those concessions really are. At the link, official Israeli publication, you can see what the Israelis thinks constitutes an appropriate way to split up the West Bank. As you look at all of those islands where Palestinians are allowed to live, remember that Palestinians are not allowed to use many, if not most of the roads. The Palestinian state that Israel is offering would still be mostly controlled by Israel and Palestinians could not move freely in it.

    Steve

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  41. ponce says:

    I don’t think you’re helping the fringe right Israelis with your posts, Wiley.

    They may be thieves, but most of them aren’t completely insane.

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  42. Jay Tea says:

    would imagine the Palestinians will set up some kind of land court once the U.N. declares Palestine a country, Jay.

    “Imagine” is the right word, because there hasn’t been word one like that from any Palestinian official. The only words you’ll hear is that Palestine must be Judenrein, or whatever the word is in Arabic.

    ddennis, you talk like “terrorist organization” and “duly elected government” are mutually exclusive terms — that Hamas, having won an election, suddenly stopped being a terrorist group. They are both. And if they become a legitimate state, their acts of terrorism become acts of war.

    steve, by “concessions” I mean “mass prisoner releases” and “opening border crossings” and “remove all the Jews from Gaza” and “evacuate settlements in the West Bank.” You are talking about proposals, and that is neither what I meant nor what I said.

    J.

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  43. anjin-san says:

    Hamas is a terrorist organization that straps suicide vests to people

    Yea, they don’t kill in an acceptable way, like we do. Righteous killing is done with stealth bombers, cluster munitions, tomahawk missiles and predator drones. When we were blowing up women, children and senior citizens during the “shock & awe” bombings, why it totally different than those barbaric Palestinians killing people.

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  44. anjin-san says:

    I’m with Herman Cain.

    I am too. A pizza DOES need an incredible crust.

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  45. Rock says:

    For some reason I am getting the seething hatred vibe up in here……

    Ditto that. To me it sounds like Libtard racism toward Israel and Jews.

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  46. anjin-san says:

    Ditto that. To me it sounds like Libtard racism toward Israel and Jews.

    Nah. Just the hatred of stupidity. Not surprised you are tuned into that.

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  47. ponce says:

    Nah. Just the hatred of stupidity. Not surprised you are tuned into that.

    Indeed.

    Obama’s poll numbers are actually up slightly since Obama spoke the truth about Palestine and Israel.

    So much for the right wing noise machine.

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  48. Jay Tea says:

    Yea, they don’t kill in an acceptable way, like we do. Righteous killing is done with stealth bombers, cluster munitions, tomahawk missiles and predator drones. When we were blowing up women, children and senior citizens during the “shock & awe” bombings, why it totally different than those barbaric Palestinians killing people.

    anjin, again, Just Doesn’t Get It. It isn’t just the “how,” but the “who” in the killing.

    When we kill the innocent, it’s an error or a crime, and treated as such.

    When they kill the innocent, it’s “mission accomplished.” They celebrate and rejoice, and lionize the killers.

    That they have developed weapons that maximize casualties in the most heinous way — such as salting their suicide bombs with rat poison to prevent the wounded’s blood from coagulating, just to name one — is just icing on the cake.

    People like anjin, who insist on some kind of moral equivalency between terrorists and Israel, or terrorists and the US, are utterly contemptible.

    J.

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  49. Herb says:

    “let the Israelis and Palestinians deal with their problems themselves”

    No offense, Doug, but that’s a bit naive. Munich was almost 40 years ago, Entebbe almost 35. The Palestinians perfected this Islamic terrorism thing decades ago and now look at it….franchised across the globe.

    We know how the Israelis and Palestinians deal with their problems: an endless exchange of retaliatory violence.

    If it was contained within Israel’s borders, it would be one thing. But it’s not and it never was.

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  50. anjin-san says:

    When we kill the innocent, it’s an error or a crime

    How many people did we kill in Iraq? In Vietnam? You think when the orders were given, they did not know there would be massive civilian casualties? Even you are not this stupid.

    nsist on some kind of moral equivalency between terrorists and Israel, or terrorists and the US, are utterly contemptible

    One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. The British regarded the founding fathers of our nation as terrorists. Same with Begin, who our country honored, and who helped make the only real lasting step towards peace in the middle east.

    Quit the whiny preaching, put down your Deep Space Nine books, and take a look at the real world. Everybody who is fighting and killing in the world thinks they are right. Everyone. They all think they are justified, and most think God is in their corner. It’s not moral equivalency, its just the human condition.

    Are the IRA terrorists? Guess it depends where you live. The British have been fvcking the Irish for a thousand years. Ireland was never able to fight them with conventional means, so they fought them with the means they had at hand. Since you are morality guy, taking a hard line on terrorists and such, I invite you to tour the pubs in Dublin and explain to them in person how the IRA are barbarian terrorists.

    How many people did we kill in Vietnam? A million? More? where they all NVR or Viet Cong? Don’t think so. Generals and the politicians they work for don’t call them “mistakes” and “crimes”, they call them collateral damage. And it’s acceptable to them. You are living on land that was taken via ethnic cleansing and agressive wars of conquest. Add up all the people that have been killed in U.S. military actions subsequent to the end of WW2. Then tell me how many of those actions were the result of an existential threat to America.

    I invite you to visit the real world sometime. Power flows out of the barrel of a gun. And everybody thinks their side is right. Everybody. Our grandfathers led us to a lofty place of high moral ground. Now, not so much. When the right stops telling me how swell torture is, maybe then they will have some credibility when they talk about how other folks are barbarians.

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  51. anjin-san says:

    That they have developed weapons that maximize casualties in the most heinous way

    Yea. Not like our weapons. Ours never did anything “heinous”. Well. maybe they did:

    http://blog.katania.be/assets/2009/03/naked_girl_running_from_napalm_atack.jpg

    Phan Thị Kim Phúc was 9 when this happened. She was in the hospital for 14 months, and she had 17 surgeries. Perhaps you can explain to me how burning the flesh off of a nine year old girl is not heinous.

    And before you go to Google to look this up and retort that it was South Vietnam, not the US who made the attack, yes it was. But we made the napalm, and we gave it to them, along with the planes that dropped it.

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  52. Jay Tea says:

    Folks, anjin here is explicitly comparing the US military to terrorists who consider it a great victory to set off bombs in pizza parlors, slaughter entire families while asleep in their homes, pack bombs with rat poison to blow up buses, try to blow up schools and hospitals, and in general choose as their purpose to kill and maim as many civilians as they can, in as gory a fashion as they can.

    And that’s just the same as the US military. Exactly. The. Same.

    You can’t debate with that kind of depravity. It’s too pathological and ingrained. You can just look at it and wonder what produced such an abortion of an American.

    I don’t agree with those who say “liberalism is a mental disorder,” but anjin shows that there can be a hell of a correlation between the two.

    J.

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  53. steve says:

    “steve, by “concessions” I mean “mass prisoner releases” and “opening border crossings” and “remove all the Jews from Gaza” and “evacuate settlements in the West Bank.””

    The mass prisoner releases were often done as trades. Many of those prisoners were political prisoners. Opening the border crossings were hardly concessions since it was the Israelis who closed them to begin with. Palestinians still cannot drive on most of the roads in the West Bank. On Gaza, I think that Israel just blew it. They made a unilateral decision to leave and they did so with poor/minimal planning. Evacuate settlements in the West Bank. I assume you are jesting here. The settlements are still expanding. Here is the Israeli vision of a Palestinian West Bank.

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/F6660C33-62B1-4EF9-BC96-ADEFEDEF60D0/0/mapstorypart3.pdf

    Steve

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  54. Gustopher says:

    Folks, anjin here is explicitly comparing the US military to terrorists who consider it a great victory to set off bombs in pizza parlors, slaughter entire families while asleep in their homes,

    If the obvious consequences of two very different actions is a whole lot of dead civilians, than those actions aren’t so different after all.

    One more thing to keep in mind — the terrorists kill a whole lot less civilians than our military does. The terrorists just aren’t as good at it.

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  55. Jay Tea says:

    The mass prisoner releases were often done as trades. Many of those prisoners were political prisoners.

    And they’ve provided a clear measure of the worth of people: one Israeli is usually worth about 1,000 Palestinians. Even one dead Israeli.

    Opening the border crossings were hardly concessions since it was the Israelis who closed them to begin with.

    The border crossings are usually closed right after terrorist attacks. Quite often on the crossing checkpoints themselves.

    Palestinians still cannot drive on most of the roads in the West Bank.

    That one I haven’t looked at too carefully.

    On Gaza, I think that Israel just blew it. They made a unilateral decision to leave and they did so with poor/minimal planning.

    “Unilateral?” They gave the Palestinians exactly what they wanted. And there was plenty of planning — for example, so very new and very high-tech greenhouses were bought by Americans and given to the Palestinians to grow their own food. Which were promptly destroyed by rioting Palestinians.

    And what kind of planning/coordination is required to simply pack up and get out? “Hey, Palestinians, we’re outta here. It’s all yours. See ya!”

    Evacuate settlements in the West Bank. I assume you are jesting here. The settlements are still expanding.

    I didn’t say “all,” just some. There have been times when Israel has pulled settlers out of the West Bank. Did no good.

    J.

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  56. anjin-san says:

    Folks, anjin here is explicitly comparing the US military to terrorists

    Actually, I am comparing killing to killing. The dead don’t really care how they get that way. Do you really think a guy in Iraq who’s grandmother was blown to bits by a wayward US bomb is less grief stricken somehow? While the motivations of a member of our armed services and a suicide bomber are vastly different, dead is still dead.

    And that’s just the same as the US military. Exactly. The. Same

    I did not say that. And don’t put words in my mouth. You are a punk hiding behind a computer, and I know that makes you feel brave, but reel it in. My uncle fought at Frozen Chosin, and my dad enlisted during a shooting war. I know what the guys in our military are about.

    Sometimes we have to go in. Afghanistan was an example of this. Sometimes we choose to go in – Vietnam & Iraq are examples of that. That you do not want to look at the blood that is on all of our hands as a result of those choices is no surprise at all, as it is no surprise that you feel no empathy for a Phan Thị Kim Phúc or responsibility for what happened to her. It’s much easier to hide behind the flag and talk about how other people are barbarians.

    Run along Jay. There must be a “torture rocks” rally out there with your name on it…

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  57. Jay Tea says:

    Hey, anjin — on 9/11 a couple thousand innocent people got killed by guys screaming “Allahu Akbar.” Every day, it seems more people are killed by guys screaming “Allahu Akbar.” You think they care about how these killers are “not true Muslims,” that are “hijacking a fine and noble and peaceful religion,” and should be differentiated from all those peace-loving Muslims who say “Allahu Akbar” while NOT slaughtering innocents?

    Hey, dead’s dead. And does it really matter if it was done in the name of Allah or not?

    To you, no. But I can guess your rationalization for that one — we’re Americans, we had it coming. It’s our just desserts. It’s our chickens come home to roost. God Damn America for our sins!

    Whoops, god carried away there. Went and confused you with the guy who was Obama’s minister for over 20 years and was a major influence on his life and thinking. My bad.

    J.

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  58. anjin-san says:

    Like I said earlier jay, you feel brave because you are hiding behind a computer, so you feel free to put words in my mouth. We both know that in the real world, you have something of a yellow streak, and you would get quiet real fast if we happened to be in the same room.

    In reality, I contacted a recruiting center the day after 9.11 to ask about the reserves. Turned out there is no demand for 43 year old boots with high blood pressure. But I made the call. Can you say the same?

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  59. steve says:

    “The border crossings are usually closed right after terrorist attacks. Quite often on the crossing checkpoints themselves.”

    Hmm, you should read up more on travel in the West Bank and across the border. Very few Palestinians are allowed to cross the border even when there are no terror attacks.

    ““Unilateral?” They gave the Palestinians exactly what they wanted. And there was plenty of planning”

    It was universally criticized for being too rushed. Also, it really was a unilateral decision. This was not a gift to the Palestinians. It was done for Israel’s own purposes.

    Steve

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  60. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, I didn’t bother. Any attempt by me to volunteer could be counted as treason — recruiters would look at my medical history and run the risk of injuring themselves laughing.

    It was universally criticized for being too rushed. Also, it really was a unilateral decision. This was not a gift to the Palestinians. It was done for Israel’s own purposes.

    No, it was not “universally” criticized. There were many who said “too long coming,” and other said “bad idea entirely.”

    “Unilateral?” It was what the Palestinians have been demanding since 1967. The main criticism was “what took you so long?”

    And yeah, “let’s give the Palestinians what they’ve been demanding for 40 years” was a heinous act. Just what would you expect the Palestinians to say? “No, don’t leave just yet, stick around a little longer so it’s easier for us to kidnap and kill you?”

    OF COURSE Israel acted in its own interests. And it was in their interest to get the hell out of Gaza and give the Palestinians a chance to remind the world of what their idea of “self-governance” is — terrorism against everyone, including their own.

    The Palestinians, naturally, never miss a chance to miss a chance, and did just that.

    Are you saying that Israel was a civilizing influence on the Palestinians, that they needed Israel to keep them in line? To give them a target to focus their rage and violence on, and that was preferable to watching them turn on themselves?

    SCREW THAT.

    That’s one hell of a diabolical Zionist plot — “let’s give them just what they ask for, with no conditions, and then we can’t possibly be blamed for when they fall apart!”

    Silly Jews. OF COURSE it’s your fault. It’s NEVER the Palestinians’ fault. To blame them for acting the way they do would be racist — can’t expect them to act like civilized human beings, of course.

    J.

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