(HOST) Commentator Bill Seamans observes that President Obama’s statements over the weekend clarify his position on the Middle East.
(SEAMANS) President Barack Obama is now on a week-long tour to reaffirm ties with Europe and to advocate more concerted anti-terrorist action in the Middle East. Less profound was his first stop yesterday in Ireland that has left late night tv jokesters reveling about Obama’s Irish roots and his great, great, great grandfather on his mother’s side who was born in the tiny hamlet of Moneygall – and I expect that the locals are still hung over from raising more than a few pints to celebrate Obama’s historic visit to the old sod.
Back in Washington, Obama left some commentators rethinking their consensus that he had pushed Israel under the bus in his Middle East address last Thursday. Was, they had asked, Obama’s concern for Israel’s security more political rhetoric than reality – especially when he said that Israel should withdraw to it’s pre-1967 borders – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu diplomatically exploded – "No! – Absolutely not possible because the ‘67 lines are indefensible."
Then in his follow-up speech on Sunday to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama affirmed his administration’s commitment to Israel’s security no less than ten times – and his damage control effort was more than nuanced – here are some excerpts in his words:
"…the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad."
"…A strong and secure Israel is in the national security interest of the United States."
"….we have a profound commitment to Israel’s survival as a strong and secure homeland of the Jewish people."
"…I and my administration have made the security of Israel a priority."
"…in both word and deed, we have been unwavering in our support of Israel’s security…"
And as I said there were even more all in the same speech. Then Obama clarified his contentious 1967 border statement – he said "It means that the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed in June 4, 1967."
That word "different" seemed to have calmed down Netanyahu when he followed with his talk to AIPAC. He said, "We are you and you are us" and that "when Israel stands against its enemies, it stands against America’s enemies."
Our question finally is whether those pundits who criticized Obama’s national address Thursday will now allow that he has invited those Israelis who want realistic peace negotiations with the Palestinians to get back on the bus. Obama said, "the status quo is unsustainable… and more delay will undermine Israel’s security."