June 13, 2011
Contact Morton A. Klein at: 212-481-1500
Attn: NEWS EDITOR
Obama: Israel Can’t Keep Temple Mount, Western Wall or Eastern J’lem Jewish Neighborhoods Without Palestinian Approval
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Barack Obama for pressuring Israel on the basis that Israel must accept the proposition that it cannot retain Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the Western Wall, or the Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem, Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Rachel’s Tomb, or anything past the ’67 lines unless the Hamas/Fatah PA agrees to it – remember only “mutually agreed swaps.”
On May 19, President Obama said that “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” Under President Obama’s policy, every Israel claim and interest in the territories beyond the 1949 armistice lines is subject to a Palestinian veto. Moreover, President Obama is also saying that, whatever Israel manages to retain with Hamas/Fatah PA agreement must be compensated by a land swap of equivalent territory.
In short, President Obama’s formula pressures Israel to give the Hamas/Fatah PA 100% of the total acreage of the disputed territory or its equivalent. It pressures Israel to relinquish previous understandings that the Western Wall and the Jerusalem neighborhoods and other areas would never be up for negotiations.
And why does the Hamas/Fatah PA deserve 100% of the total acreage of disputed territory or its equivalent, while Israel receives 0% of the total acreage of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem? After all, the PA’s conduct over 17 years scarcely entitles it to huge Israeli concessions, let alone concessions that would endanger its security. The PA has not arrested terrorists. It has not outlawed terrorist groups. It has not ended incitement to hatred and murder against Israel in its media, mosques, schools or youth camps. It has not renamed or stopped naming the streets, schools and sports teams named after terrorists who murdered Jews. President Obama’s policy rewards an unreconstructed, terror-promoting Hamas/Fatah PA. A negotiated “compromise” that results in Israel giving – and the Hamas/Fatah PA receiving – 100% of the territory, or at least equivalent amount of territory, is no compromise at all.
President Obama’s policy is also a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in 1967, that does not require an Israeli return to the 1967 armistice lines and which recognizes the Israeli requirement of borders that are both secure and recognized. It also ignores President George W. Bush’s 2004 letter to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which stipulated that a negotiated outcome would be one that takes account of Israeli interests and Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
Now it has emerged that the White House is pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt President Obama’s view that the 1949 armistice lines should be the basis for future peace talks. Steven Simon, the new White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, told representatives of the Jewish Community Friday during a conference call that the White House was looking to get both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to adopt Mr. Obama’s “principles as a basis for negotiation” (Eli Lake, ‘White House seeks Israeli agreement to negotiate on 1967 lines,’ Washington Times, June 12, 2011).
The ZOA is urging all American Jewish and pro-Israel groups to strongly criticize and oppose President Obama’s policy.