Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia’s 4th District, commenting on the Obama speech Thursday:
The Israelis were certain, he said, that the speech would not contain any major developments regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. They expected the president to spend most of his time addressing other hotspots in the Middle East.
Obama did discuss those hotspots, but he also called for the borders that were in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war to serve as the starting point for peace talks. It marked the first time that an American president had formally taken such a position.
It would require that Israeli settlements outside those borders be reversed or be offset by swapping territory.
Forbes, a conservative Republican and persistent critic of the Obama administration, isn’t happy about it.
“I was just blown away by the ineptness of the substance and the way it was delivered,” he said Friday.
On Sunday, Forbes spent two hours with Israeli’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of a congressional delegation. Forbes said the speech pulled the rug out from under the Israelis.
“I can tell you that Netanyahu was surprised, and I think most of the Israeli leadership was,” Forbes said.
The U.S. knew Netanyahu was scheduled to visit the U.S. The prime minister met with Obama on Friday and is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress later. Delivering the speech in advance of the visit put the prime minister in an awkward position, Forbes said.
“This is one of the longest times the prime minister will be away from Israel,” he said. “To do this in a situation where he is not at home – it’s almost unthinkable.”
Netanyahu’s reaction was far from inept nor surprising as the following CNN report shows:
As to those 1967 borders, the go to and related post of the day is over at Bookworm’s place. There she digs up a commemorative Life Magazine article dating back to that time and place and the suprising perspective given by Life’s editors. A teaser excerpt where they react to then Egyptian President Abdel Gamer Nasser’s call for Israel’s extermination follows:
The world had grown accustomed to such shows [of destructive hatred towards Israel] through a decade of Arab-Israeli face-offs that seasonally blew as hot as a desert sirocco. Since 1948, when Israel defeated the Arabs and won the right to exist as a nation, anti-Zionist diatribes had been the Arab world’s only official recognition of Israel. Indeed, in the 19 years since the state was founded, the surrounding Arab states have never wavered from their claim that they were in a state of war with Israel.
Nor have they wavered since. Read the whole piece and come away more aware than ever of two things. How far the press has turned against Israel since 1967 and how Arab hatred of the Jews has not.