’67 Was Always the Only Option
Why we should be shocked by Bibi’s shock
Two Haaretz op-eds together make the definitive case that the way to achieve two states—the stated objective of both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu—is to negotiate, as Obama put in his speech yesterday, “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
Daniel Gideon Levy, one of the paper’s more left-wing columnists, cites the Palestinian who came in from Syria during the Nakba Day protests and traveled to Jaffa, to see his immediate ancestors’ hometown. “Maybe now we will begin to understand its roots and solutions,” Levy writes of the bitter conflict. “Maybe we will begin to understand that for the Palestinian people the 1967 borders are the mother of all compromises and concessions, a compromise that is far more painful for them than for us.” 1967, in other words, is the most Israel can get in exchange for the crucial renunciation of the right of return. And Ari Shavit, a centrist, argues from the other side: “Without accepting the principle of 1967, Netanyahu’s other principles will remain full of holes,” he observes. These principles “will end up the latest unimportant remarks by an unimportant prime minister.” Both writers are saying the same thing: That for Israel, which after years of inaction is faced with the Palestinian push for U.N. recognition, ’67 is the most it can reasonably expect to get. Therefore, it is the only sensible premise.
Now for the punch-line: Those two op-eds were published yesterday morning.
That is, both were thought up, written, and published before Obama’s speech, in which he became the first U.S. president to explicitly, publicly call for the 1967 border to be the basis for negotiations—to the apparent shock of Netanyahu, the Likud Party, the Republican Party, and various right-leaning American Jewish groups.
The ’67 borders are just part of the deal: They are what you agree to in order to get an end to right of return, a demilitarized Palestinian state, and a U.S. veto at the U.N. in the meantime—all things Obama also proposed. So why was Netanyahu surprised and appalled? Why the petty angry phone call with Secretary of State Clinton? The writing was on the wall, on the morning of, in the Israeli press. The necessity was there. And it remains.
For Mideast Peace, Israel Needs To Own Up to Palestinian Pain [Haaretz]
Netanyahu Must Move Forward and Accept 1967 Borders [Haaretz]
Obama and Netanyahu Face a Turning Point [NYT]
Related: Obama’s Mideast Speech [NYT]
Earlier: Bibi Gets What He Wants, Replies With Scorn