The immediate Palestinian reaction to Obama’s speech was predictable and represented what Netanyahu and Obama’s critics expected. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said that Israel must now recognize the 1967 armistice lines.
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, speaking on behalf of Abbas, said flat out that the Palestinian Authority won’t agree to any Israeli presence in Palestine beyond the 1967 lines. So much for Klein’s assertion that Obama’s proposal would permit Israel to keep large blocs of its settlements!
Days later, Abbas himself praised Obama for the “parameters” he had outlined.
Clearly, Joe Klein’s deception cannot hide that Obama’s narcissism and arrogance have jeopardized meaningful negotiations. The Palestinians intend to start from Obama’s position, ignoring any reference to the land swaps. This means that the Wailing Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, will be on the Palestinian side of the line, and Jerusalem will be a divided city. What then is there to negotiate? Whether Palestinians who are the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original refugees can live in Israel?
Maybe the Palestinians, having started with Obama’s “parameters,” will negotiate the boundaries of Tel Aviv and Haifa, or whether only Jews who lived in the British Mandate before 1948 will be permitted to stay in Palestine (as dhimmi). This is a proposal I have heard, for decades, made in all seriousness at university debates on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. This is considered the moderate position. The more extreme is whether the Jews should be pushed into the sea or forcibly repatriated to Europe. Whatever position the Palestinians choose, the Jews will first have to apologize to the Palestinians — even if it is during a prelude to another Holocaust.
Now that Abbas and Erekat have predictably removed land swaps from Obama’s position, should we anticipate another essay by Joe Klein on how President Obama detests how the Palestinians are, as he said of Netanyahu, “twisting and oversimplifying his words”?