Today in his speech on the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama said that “a lasting peace” between the Israelis and the Palestinians “will involve two states” and that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines.”
For some reason, the Beltway media is treating this as some kind of breaking news. Foreign Policy reported that Obama is altering U.S. policy and the Washington Post claimed that the Obama administration referred to the 1967 border as part of the solution “[f]or the first time.”
Next came the right-wing outrage that Obama hates Israel. Matt Drudge issued the marching orders soon after the speech ended with the headline, “Obama sides with Palestine.” Mitt Romney then accused Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said Obama “betrayed” Israel, saying on Twitter, “Obama’s call for 1967 borders will cause chaos, division & more aggression in Middle East & put Israel at further risk.” The far-right Simon Wiesenthal Center, which purports to promote tolerance, basically called Obama a Nazi, saying that “Israel should reject a return to 1967 ‘Auschwitz’ borders.”
Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work.
And the 1967 borders were the basis for the two future states in negotiations during the Clinton administration. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now Israel’s Defense Minister, signed a document “understanding that the negotiations on the Permanent Status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.” UNSR 242, passed in November 1967, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd noticed all the commotion, tweeting, “Surprised at venom re: 1967 lines. Has been part of the proposed solution for years.”
Ali Gharib contributed to this post.