In a tense meeting with President Obama this morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ("Bibi") explained the essential position of his party and Israeli nation in rejecting an an old proposal recently promoted by President Obama.
On this new point of contention between the two statesmen, Netanyahu took part of the time in a shared press conference to explain the errors in President Obama's assertion that Israel should recede to its pre-1967 borders ("with land swaps" Obama supporters will chime in) as part of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Part of his explanation included a historical time-line of sorts.
The Israeli Prime Minister is not sharing an isolated opinion on this matter, either. It was President George W. Bush who rightly acknowledged that facts on the ground have fundamentally changed the dynamics for negotiations. Jewish settlements have legally proliferated in the West Bank. The handover of Gaza has only emboldened terrorists, now armed with political legitimacy, to harass Israel on both sides. Forcing Israel to pull back its borders would be suicide.
However, following Netanyahu's extended refutation of Obama's proposal, pundits from across the political spectrum are castigating Bibi because he was "lecturing" the President on the history of the protracted and frustrated peace process which has still refused fruition. Their criticism of the Prime Minister is short-sighted as well as arrogant and presumptuous.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is the head of state surrounded by states swapped by political chaos, all threatening to undermine any long-term stability OF Israel and the Middle East. He has every right to explain not just the White House, but to the misinformed world at large what is at stake in Palestine, both for the Jews as well as Arabs.
Furthermore it is sheer arrogance for the head of state from another nation to even insinuate to a fellow statesman where and how he should delineate the borders of his own country. How would we respond if a foreign statesman reprimanded us for protecting our own borders, for tracking down the merciless thugs who have attacked this country for years, and for undermining future attempts at national attacks against us?
President Obama, who has made a practice of maligning the policies of his predecessor (despite relying on the same to catch Osama bid Laden), has resolutely ignored the ongoing violent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish State and the rights of every person living in Palestine, both Jew and Arab (as well as Christian). Prime Minister Netanyahu needed to hold our President accountable for this blatant lack of awareness.
In the face of Obama's complete ignorance of crucial developments the stalled Middle East peace process, Netanyahu justifiably addressed in a calm and cogent manner the folly behind suggesting that Israel renounce its current holdings in the West Bank, a move which would endanger civilians, invite more terrorist attacks, and severely compromise the Jewish State's capacity to defend (and define) itself.
To put it another way, Bibi shot down Obama, and not a moment too soon!