You’ve heard the old joke that denial is a river in Egypt. Well, in Bibi Netanyahu’s case it’s a river runnin’ right past his door. The NY Times reports in a follow up to Obama’s speech that Bibi was furious that Obama planned to underscore U.S. support for a return to 1967 borders (with land swaps):
[There was] a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday morning, just hours before Mr. Obama’s speech, during which the prime minister reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.
The guy doesn’t seem to realize that 1967 borders has been U.S. policy practically since, well 1967. This sound byte from Michael Oren further mystified me:
…There were…aspects [of the speech] like the return to the 1967 borders which depart from longstanding American policy…going back to 1967…
I found this passing strange till I realized that what they were both probably apoplectic about was the supposed American backtrack from the Bush letter to Sharon in which he accepted that Israel would retain major settlement blocs in perpetuity. But even with such a letter, it doesn’t stray from the 67 borders concept because the land swaps would include those few settlements blocs which would incorporate most of the settlers in the West Bank.
So really, the entire thing seems like a charade or Kabuki drama in which the antics and motivations of the Israelis are too obscure to parse.
There does seem to be at least a modicum of realism on the part of some in Bibi’s entourage about the September General Assembly vote:
…The last-minute furor highlights the discord as they head into what one Israeli official described as a “train wreck” coming their way: a United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood in September.
Frankly, I’d rather see it as the train of Palestinian destiny, but if Bibi and Barack insist on standing in its path it might indeed be a train wreck for them. Someone who knows UN protocol better than I should explain the process of the statehood vote. I know the General Assembly recognized Israel in 1947. I’d never heard that the Security Council would take a vote too on Palestinian independence if the General Assembly did. This article says that Obama plans to veto any resolution brought to the former. Why would there be?
In truth, it hardly matters because clearly the U.S. and Israel will be extremely isolated whether the Security Council vetoes the resolution or not. The point will have been made. Israeli and U.S. policy will appear more and more divorced from reality as the rest of the world sees it. Both nations will verge closer to becoming irrelevancies on the world stage. A sad and sorry sight to see for someone who is a citizen of the one and an admirer (at times) of the other.
This article first appeared at Tikun Olam