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Palestine - is Obama ready to speak his mind?

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 1 October 2009

President Obama’s address at the United Nations on September 23 gave some indication that he would soon be releasing his own plan for achieving the creation of a new Arab State between Israel and Jordan - the so called “two-state solution - that has avoided the best efforts of previous American Presidents for the last 16 years.

In his carefully crafted address he made the following statement:

The time has come to re-launch negotiations - without preconditions - that address the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees and Jerusalem. The goal is clear: two states living side by side in peace and security - a Jewish State of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realises the potential of the Palestinian people.


The insistence that such negotiations be opened “without preconditions” was a slap in the face for Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has so far refused to enter into such negotiations with Israel until Israel totally freezes all construction activity in the West Bank.

No doubt Obama had hoped that his fruitless trilateral meeting with Abbas and Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the previous day would have enabled him to tell the United Nations that negotiations were soon to resume. That was not to be.

To compound Abbas’s irrational stance he has now insisted that he would not enter into any negotiations unless their end result would be the withdrawal by Israel from every inch of territory occupied by it since the Six Day War in 1967. (Wafa Palestine News Agency, September 22, 2009).

Netanyahu - and previous Israeli Governments - have made it clear Israel would not be obliging Abbas in this demand.

President Obama appears to have supported Netanyahu on this issue by pointedly not calling for an Israeli return to the territorial position that existed at June 4, 1967, but merely an end to the occupation that began in 1967.

Obama’s insistence that Israel be recognised as a Jewish state also is completely at odds with Abbas’ long standing refusal to accept such a proposal.


Given the above - it is extremely unlikely that Abbas is politically strong enough to get off his high horse, lose face and resume negotiations with Israel without preconditions. Hamas - and his own faction Fatah - will ensure this does not happen.

His preferred course will be to employ the tactics of the past and engage in rhetoric accusing the Israel lobby of controlling President Obama and the Congress and totally ignoring the victims of the conflict and their ongoing suffering.

He will prefer this course and the strong support he expects to receive in his stance from a majority of the morally bankrupt member states of the United Nations who control the affairs of the General Assembly and its Human Rights Council and can pass resolutions ad infinitum excoriating Israel and pursuing a program of delegitimising Israel as the Jewish national home.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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