Friday, May 20, 2011
Every once in awhile there’s a day where everything changes. President Obama made today that sort of day.
In the (long) video above, President Obama talks about peace in the Middle East. It was remarkable for two things: First, it put the US—perhaps for the first time—squarely on the side of democracy in the region by supporting the pro-democracy movements in Libya, Syria and, especially, Bahrain.
The other part, getting all the attention, was the president saying out loud what has always been said quietly: There must be a Palestinian homeland, and the borders must be based on the pre-1967 borders (which excludes the Golan Heights and the West Bank, what Israel calls Judea and Sumaria). Of course, there’s nothing new in that—that was policy for both Clinton and Bush. What IS new is that he said it out loud.
Neither Israel nor the right-wing in the US are happy about this. As long as the policy remained unspoken, they didn’t have to actually do anything to make it reality. President Obama has put pressure on Israel to actually get serious in its negotiations. He did that simply by openly stating what has been US policy for a very long time.
A little honesty in the search for peace in the Middle East—imagine that!