Obama’s Flawed Approach to the Israel/Palestine Conflict

21 May

            There is no world leader that is more skilled at speechmaking than Barack Obama, especially when it comes to inspiring rhetoric that resonates with deep and widely held human aspirations. And his speech on Middle East policy, symbolically delivered to a Washington audience gathered at the State Department, was no exception, and it contained certain welcome reassurances about American intentions in the region.  I would point to his overall endorsement of the Arab Spring as a demonstration that the shaping of political order ultimately is a prerogative of the people. Further that populist outrage if mobilized is capable of liberating an oppressed people from the yoke of brutal and corrupt dictatorships, and amazingly to do so without recourse to violence. Obama also was honest enough to acknowledge that the national strategic interests of the United States sometimes take precedence over this preferential option for democracy and respect for human rights. Finally, his proposed $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt was a concrete expression of support for the completion of its revolutionary process, although the further $1 billion tied to an opening to outside investment and a free trade framework was far more ambiguous, threatening the enfeebled Egyptian economy with the sort of competitive intrusions that have been so devastating for indigenous agriculture and industry throughout the African continent.

 

            But let’s face it, when the soaring language is taken away, we should not be surprised that Obama continues to seek approval, as he has throughout his presidency, from the hawks in the State Department, the militarists in the Pentagon, and capitalist true believers on Wall Street. Such are the fixed parameters of his presidency with respect to foreign policy and explain why there is so much disappointment among his former most ardent followers during his uphill campaign for the presidency, who were once energized and excited by the slogan “change, yes we can!”  Succumbing to Washington ‘realism’ (actually a recipe for imperial implosion), the unacknowledged operational slogan of the Obama presidency has become “change, no we won’t!”

Obama’s Pro-Israeli Partisanship

           With these considerations in mind, it is not at all surprising that Obama’s approach to the Israel/Palestine conflict remains one-sided, deeply flawed, and a barrier rather than a gateway to a just and sustainable peace. The underlying pressures that produce the distortion is the one-sided allegiance to Israel (“Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempt to single it out for criticism in international forums.”). This leads to the totally unwarranted assessment that failure to achieve peace in recent years is equally attributable to Israelis and the Palestinians, thereby equating what is certainly not equivalent. Consider Obama’s words of comparison: “Israeli settlement activity continues, Palestinians have walked away from the talks.” How many times is it necessary to point out that Israeli settlement activity is unlawful, and used to be viewed as such even by the United States Government, and that the Palestinian refusal to negotiate while their promised homeland is being despoiled not only by settlement expansion and settler violence, but by the continued construction of an unlawful barrier wall well beyond the 1967 borders. Obama never finds it appropriate to mention Israel’s reliance on excessive and lethal force, most recently in its response to the Nakba demonstrations along its borders, or its blatant disregard of international law, whether by continuing to blockade the entrapped 1.5 million Palestinians locked inside Gaza or by violently attacking the Freedom Flotilla a year ago on international waters while it was carrying much needed humanitarian aid to the Gazans or the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

 

            At least in Obama’s Cairo speech of June 2009 there was a strong recognition of Palestinian suffering through dispossession, occupation, and refugee status: “..it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people—Muslims and Christians—have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West  Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations—large and small—that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” Of course, this formulation prejudges the most fundamental of Palestinian entitlements by confining any exercise of their right of self-determination as a people to a two-state straight jacket that may no longer be viable or desirable, if it ever was. And throughout the speech in Cairo there was never a sense that the Palestinians have rights under international law that must be taken into account in any legitimate peace process, taking precedence over ‘facts on the ground.’

             But at least in Cairo Obama was clear on the Israeli settlements, or reasonably so: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for the settlements to stop.” Even here Obama is only pleading for a freeze (rather than dismantling what was unlawful). In the new speech settlement activity is blandly referred to as making it difficult to get new negotiations started, but nothing critical is said, despite resumed and intensified settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This unwillingness to confront Israel on such a litmus test of a commitment to a negotiated peace is indicative of Obama’s further retreat from even the pretense of balanced diplomacy as measured against Cairo.

             And there were other demonstrations of pro-Israeli partisanship in the speech. On the somewhat hopeful moves toward Palestinian Authority/Hamas reconciliation as a necessary basis for effective representation of the Palestinian people at the international level, Obama confines his comments to reiterating Israeli complaints about the refusal of Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. What was left unsaid by Obama is that progress toward peace might be made by at last treating Hamas as a political actor, appreciating its efforts to establish ceasefires and suppress rocket attacks from Gaza, acknowledging its repeated acceptance of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders buttressed by a long-term proposal for peaceful co-existence with Israel, and lifting a punitive and unlawful blockade on Gaza that has lasted for almost four years. It is possible that such an approach might fail, but if the terminology of taking risks for peace is to have any meaning it must include an altered orientation toward the participation of Hamas in any future peace process.

 A Disturbing Innovation

             Perhaps, the most serious flaw in the Obama conception of resumed negotiations, is the separation of the territorial issues from the wider agenda of fundamental questions. This unfortunate feature of his approach has been obscured by Israel’s evident anger about the passage in the speech that affirms what was already generally accepted in the international community: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” If anything this is a step back from the 1967 canonical and unanimous Security Council Resolution 242 that looked unconditionally toward “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territory occupied in the recent conflict.”

              Obama’s innovation involves deferring consideration of what he calls “[t]wo wrenching and emotional issues..the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees.” Leaving Jerusalem out of the negotiating process is in effect an uncritical acceptance of Israel’s insistence that the city as a whole belongs exclusively to Israel. What is worse, it allows Israel to continue the gradual process of ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem: settlement expansion, house demolitions, withdrawal of residency permits and deportations, and overall policies designed to discourage a continued Palestinian presence.  It must be understood, I believe, as an unscrupulous American acceptance of Israel’s position on Jerusalem, which is not only a betrayal of legitimate Palestinian expectations of situating their capital in East Jerusalem but also a move that will be received with bitter resentment throughout the Arab world.

            Similarly, the deferral of the refugee issue is quite unforgivable. As of 2010 4.7 million Palestinians are registered with the UN as refugees, either living within refugee camps under conditions of occupation or in precarious circumstances in neighboring countries within camps or as vulnerable members of the host country. This refugee status has persisted for more that 60 years despite the clear assertion of Palestinian refugee rights contained in General Assembly Resolution 194 adopted in 1948 and annually reaffirmed: “The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” This persistence of the Palestinian refugee status six decades later is one of the most notorious denials of human rights that exist in the world today. To remove it from the peace process, as Obama purports to do, is to consign the refugees to an outer darkness of despair, and as such, is a telling disclosure of the bad faith embedded in the most recent Obama rendering of his approach to peace. Those who are dedicated to achieving a just peace for the two peoples—Israelis and Palestinians—are doomed to fail unless the refugees are treated as a core issue that can neither be postponed nor evaded without a grave betrayal of justice.

 Legitimacy Confusions

               And finally, Obama does his best to dash Palestinian hopes about their one effort to move their struggle a step forward, gaining their acceptance as a state by the United Nations in September of this year. In a perverse formulation of this reasonable, even belated, Palestinian effort to enlist international support for their claims of self-determination and statehood, Obama resorts to deflating and condescending language: “..efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.” This language is perverse because the Palestinian diplomatic initiative is meant to legitimize itself, not delegitimize Israel. And the BDS campaign and other international civil society initiatives carrying on the ‘legitimacy war’ being waged against Israel by way of the Palestinian solidarity movement are not aimed at delegitimizing Israel, but rather seek to overcome the illegitimacy of such Israeli unlawful policies and practices as the Gaza blockade, ethnic cleansing, wall building in defiance of the World Court, settlement expansion and settler violence, excessive violence in the name of security.

               In many respects, Obama’s speech, aside from the soaring rhetoric, might have been crafted in Tel Aviv rather than the White House. It is a tribute to Israel’s extraordinary influence upon the American media that has been able to shift the focus of assessment to the supposed Israeli anger about affirming Palestinian statehood within 1967 borders. It is hardly a secret that the Netanyahu leadership, aside from its shrewd propaganda, is opposed to the establishment of any Palestinian state, whether symbolic or substantive. This much was confirmed by the release of the Palestinian Papers that established rather conclusively that behind closed doors even when the Palestinian Authority made concession after concession in response to Israeli demands, the Israeli negotiating partners seemed totally unresponsive, and appeared disinterested in negotiating a genuine solution to the conflict.

             Underneath the Israeli demand for recognition of it character as a Jewish state is the hidden reality of a Palestinian minority of more than 1.5 million living as second class citizens within Israel. The Obama conception of “a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace” seems completely oblivious to the rights of minority peoples and religions. Such ethnic and religious states seem incompatible with the promise of human dignity for all persons living within a political community. Homelands for a people are fine provided they do not encroach on pre-existing rights of others and do not claim exclusivity at the level of society or state. The Jewish claim in Palestine has the force of history behind it, but so Christians and others, and the Balfour certification should not mean much in a post-colonial era. It needs also to be acknowledged that the realization of a Jewish homeland in historic Palestine has long been abusive toward the resident population, and now to consign the Palestinians to a homeland behind the 1967 borders sends a regressive message. It offers Israel a covert way to invalidate the claims of refugees expelled in 1948 from Palestine, as well as overlooks the rights and wellbeing of the Palestinian minority living within Israel at present.

 

American Irrelevance and Palestinian Populism

               In a profound sense, whatever Obama says at this point is just more words, beside the point. He has neither the will nor the capacity to exert any material leverage on Israel that might make it more amenable to respecting Palestinian rights under international law or to strike a genuine compromise based on mutuality of claims. Palestinians should not look to sovereign states, or even the United Nations, and certainly not the United States, in their long and tormented journey to realize a just and sustainable destiny for themselves. Their future will depend on the outcome of their struggle, abetted and supported by people of good will around the world, and increasingly assuming the character of a nonviolent legitimacy war that mobilizes moral and political pressures that assert Palestinian rights from below.  In this regard, it remains politically significant to make use of the UN and friendly governments to gain visibility and legitimacy for their claims of right. It is Palestinian populism not great power diplomacy that offers the best current hope of achieving a sustainable and just peace on behalf of the Palestinian people. Obama’s State Department speech should be understood as merely the latest in a long series of disguised confessions of geopolitical impotence, but of one thing we can be sure, it will not be the last.       

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19 Responses to “Obama’s Flawed Approach to the Israel/Palestine Conflict”

  1. Daniele El Seoudi May 21, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Richard,
    Excellent text.
    While it clarifies, confirms what I think about the position of Obama.

  2. Joshua Gottlieb May 21, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    It has been many years since I’ve had the pleasure of hearing one of Professor Falks’ amazing lectures. While I do disagree with a number of points in this post, one cannot disagree with the overall message that our President has co-opted the political will he gathered during his election campaign to further the imperialist nature of US foreign policy.

    I do, however, have a number of issues with this post in particular. The refusal of the organization of Hamas, like it’s brethren Hezbollah and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade, to recognize Israel’s right to existence, along with their actions in support of that goal such as rocket bombardments along border cities and coordinated suicide bombings, constitute gross violations of international law, UN resolutions and of course common sense. That is not to say they are equivalent to a government sponsored, systematic campaign of exclusion and disenfranchisement as clearly perpetrated by the Israeli government, but to ignore their effects would be an equally large deflection of the peace process as the Israeli refusal of a right of return policy for refugees and displaced Palestinians.

    Further, I have a very simple solution for both the settlement issue and the right of return that I think might work because it would clearly make both sides incredibly upset (as the best compromises tend to)…but it requires the acceptance of a few hard truths on both sides. First, the homes that existed in 1948-1967 that Palestinians would like to return to don’t physically exist anymore, so for them not to budge on this issue even a little would be tantamount to stalling the peace process indefinitely. Similarly, for Israel not to recognize the extreme illegitimacy of their continued settlement expansion and encroachment on internationally disputed land is equally fundamentally detrimental to a real and lasting peace…why not force all settlers out of their homes that exist in land that will one day rightfully belong to a sovereign Palestine and allow dislocated Palestinians to have a home to move into immediately?

    Also, the wall clearly just needs to be dismantled, but it would be a great symbolic and economic coup to have only Palestinian workers be hired (and trained) to do so on handsome salaries subsidized by the US and Israeli governments…cheers to eternal optimism!

    It is clear to me that the massive wave of social change throughout the region has the potential to provide a silver bullet for the Israeli/Palestinian issue, but sadly, it is also equally clear that our most charismatic and socially relevant President in many many years continues to espouse the same BS of his predecessors…change? I guess it’s not a politically expedient for re-election as it was to get elected in the first place. At least he’s learning the true nature of American politics…

    • Richard Falk May 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      Joshua, thanks for your perceptive comments and provocative suggestions. I agree that without provocation the stalled quest for peace will not move forward. On the question of Hamas’ responsibility, I agree that it contains criminal acts and even crimes against humanity, but I think the first step toward their constructive engagement is to recognize their efforts in recent years to behave mostly like a political actor seeking an end to violence. Other issues can come later, including the recognition issue, which I regard as symbolic in character. Even if Hamas were to make the desired retraction it would be greeted with skepticism in Tel Aviv.

  3. Ray Joseph Cormier May 21, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Thank you, Professor Falk, for once again writing a most lucid and well reasoned assessment of President Obama’s policies.

    In terms of Power, this world thinks there is none more powerful than The President of the United States. Obviously it will take an Act of God to prevent Israel from taking further actions that lead to Masada II and Holocaust II.

    The clearest, most indisputable sign of the end of the world was the recreation of the State of Israel. The possibility of Armageddon happening was not in sight until the recreation of temporal Israel from the Bible whether one believes the Bible story or not. That’s realpolitic!

    Armageddon is derived from Har Mediggo, an actual place that was in the Roman Province of Palestine when the Revelation was given 2000 years ago. Today Har Mediggo/Armageddon is located near the Galilee in Israel. It’s been a long time in preparation.

    9/11was the end of the world as we knew it up to that point in time and a precursor to the main event yet to come if we don’t wake up from our deep slumber.

    And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
    For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
    Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
    And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Revelation 16

    That false prophet, the 3 unclean spirits and 3 devils are very active in Judaism, Christianity and Islam Today in making this prophecy a possibility in our Future world. At the writing of the Revelation there was only Judaism. Early Christianity was considered a new Sect or Denomination of Judaism. Islam did not come into being until 600 years after that.

    The world is building up to it before our very eyes as reported in the secular news media. It’s called Revelation for those who have eyes to see.

  4. MIKE LEVINSON! May 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Great remarks, Dr. Falk! It is so refreshing to see you continue the tradition in the American Jewish community to take risks and stand up for justice and the oppressed! Right On! We in the peace movement will surely win. After all, THEY only have the guns and money, but nothing else. Hi Ho!

  5. free ipad 2 giveaway May 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

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  6. David Sugar May 23, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    “…Homelands for a people are fine provided they do not encroach on pre-existing rights of others and do not claim exclusivity at the level of society or state..” This to me was always the only legitimate basis for a just and lasting peace. It requires rejecting the idea of creating a pure ethno-state in Palestine, a perverted ideology that is as unacceptable and disgusting today as the ideology of those seeking a “pure German” state in Europe once was.

  7. David Fonteyn May 23, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    Hi, I thought it was a good article, although I thought it was a little tilted – but no matter on that.

    I have an idea for a way forward, although I feel the speech and Netanyahu’s response kills it off to some extent. But, I’ll put it to you anyway.

    Three states joined together into one nation – a bit like the EU, rather than the USA, where most political power is held at the state level rather than the national level. Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel state within green line, Gaza city, the capital of Gaza state and Ramallah, the capital of West Bank state. The whole thing is called the United States of Palestine. The wall is removed. Jerusalem is the capital of the nation with a Capital Territory based upon its municipal border is set up to administer the city – shared by its inhabitants. The IDF withdraw to the Green Line and along with them, the settlers – although any who want to stay can live within the WB state and abide by their laws – most would leave. The houses that are left behind as well as all infrastructure such as roads are handed to the WB government to do with as they will as kind of a gesture of goodwill. A combined national guard is set up comprising Israelis and Palestinians to protect the borders. There is freedom of movement between states, especially for work and family reunions, although citizenship for each state must be applied for in the usual manner – as in the EU. National roads and vital infrastructure and natural resources are administered by a combined govt. in Jerusalem/Al Quds. 194 is enacted – Shikaki has shown that most Palestinians would prefer to settle in a Palestinian state and especially as their houses and villages no longer exist. But, of course, anyone has the right to return to the lands and area they came from. A truth and reconcilliation committee (like South Africa) is set up and with the help of international lawyers and courts, suitable punishments are meted out for any violators and offenders. In time, as relations improve amongst the peoples, the political power can move more to the national level creating a truly united one nation. But, I suggest it’s better as a gradual process rather than immediate as there is too much enmity between the peoples at the moment.

    As stated though, it seems unlikely any of this could possibly happen. Given that, I am all for a secular bi-national state in the whole land with equal rights for all – meaning a Palestinian majority and hence state with an Israeli minority. I think, given that the Israelis have rejected two states largely through Netanyahu and settler policies, and largely the Palestinians don’t really want the land divided and receive only a remnant, it seems the only possible way from here – except for the armageddon described by the crazy guy above. I’m for averting the armageddon. So, I think the Israeli left wing and Jewish left wing will have to join with Palestinians in the call for the end of apartheid policies within the whole land (it’s one land as it is) and have equal rights for all – meaning a Palestinian majority and Israeli minority. It seems the best way from here.

  8. judy neunuebel May 23, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    An accurate and clear assessment. Thank you, once again, Professor Falk.

  9. Rabbi Ira Youdovin May 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Prof. Falk,

    Some months ago, I intruded on this space to note that you had compared Israelis with Nazis. You denied having done so, and added that you find the accusation “odious”. When I cited an essay you had written in 2007 which refutes your denial—indeed, you did so it twice—you declined to post the citation on your blog.

    To avert repeating that unpleasant scenario in regard to your stated distaste for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, I quote immediately and directly from your May 21 post. In it, you lament that Palestinians are denied “their right of self-determination as a people by a two-state straight jacket that may no longer be viable or desirable, if it ever was. This puts you in league with Hamas and other Palestinian rejectionists who are arrayed against Fatah, which seeks peace with Israel in the context of a two-state solution. Sooner or later, extreme left joins hands with extreme right. Apparently, you have found your soul mate.

    Indeed, your treatment of Hamas is so over-the-top as to be suitable for a toxic version of Saturday Night Live. You urge that Hamas be appreciated for “its efforts to establish ceasefires and suppress rocket attacks from Gaza, acknowledging its repeated acceptance of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders buttressed by a long-term proposal for peaceful co-existence with Israel.”

    “Suppress rocket attacks from Gaza????” Who if not Hamas rained down some 10,000 rockets on men, women and children in southern Israel before Operation Cast Lead? Even Judge Goldstone acknowledged that.

    “Peaceful co-existence with Israel???” The Hamas Charter (1988) is explicit in calling for the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with an Islamic Palestinian state. That charter has never been amended or revised. To the contrary, Hamas leaders in Gaza and Damascus are not at all embarrassed about asserting their intentions as loudly and as often as they can, as are their patrons in Teheran. But you, Prof. Falk apparently have not gotten the memo.

    What puzzles me is your proclivity for denying things when there is absolute proof to the contrary, some of it from your own hand? Perhaps it’s from all those years of telling the despots and tyrants who call the tune for the gloriously misnamed United Nations Human Rights Council what they want to hear. The atmosphere at these Hatefests is hardly conducive to either intellectual honesty or sincere self-reflection.

    I feel a genuine sadness about this. Much of what you say resonates in me. But our visions for the future are radically different. Mine is rooted in a two-state solution which can be achieved only by eschewing one-sided narratives which fuel self-serving efforts to avenge injustices, real and perceived, instead of seeking solutions that serve the legitimate needs and aspirations of all parties to the conflict.

    • David Fonteyn May 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

      Hi Rabbi Ira Youdovin, I’d like to ask, given the recent rejection of two states by Netanyahu, combined with the continual increasing of settlement activity, how do you see a two state solution being possible? Also, while Fatah may be talking two states, the majority of the Palestinian street are not interested in WB and Gaza and East Jerusalem. If the Israelis don’t want two states and the Palestinians don’t either, how is the two state solution going to come? This is not a rhetorical but a genuine question. I have talked two states for years only to be told by Israeli friends, as well as heard from their leaders, that they will never withdraw from the WB and never give up East Jerusalem. My Palestinian friends all tell me they are not interested in it either but want the river to the sea. So, how and when? It seems to me that after Netanyahu’s response, there is no more possible talk of two states, or am I wrong?

    • Richard Falk May 24, 2011 at 9:09 am #

      Rabbi Youdovin: I have hesitated to respond because we seem so far apart on the underlying facts that useful conversation does not seem possible. Also, you tend to push my views to extremes that are not my intention. For instance, my views on Hamas are far from over the top. I am arguing in a manner similar to what John Major said about the IRA that he could only move toward peace when he started thinking of their role as that of a political actor not a terrorist organization. I would agree that this approach might prove to be another dead end, but in my view it is worth the risk if a sustainable peace is the goal.
      As for two-state or one-state, this is for the parties to decide, but I pointed out that advocacy of two states while building settlements, roads, altering the ethnic character of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem has made it seem that a two state solution is no longer feasible, in a sense for either side. I doubt that these clarifications will have any effect on your view of my views, but I thought I would try..Best wishes.

  10. sudhan May 25, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    In his usual clear and upright manner, Richard Falk points to Obama’s approach to the Israel/Palestine issues and his policy which in no way can lead to any positive results because what the American political establishment and the powerful pro-Israel forces in the United States stand for is to provide all political and military muscle to Israel to expand its settlements and virtually make it impossible for the Palestinians to have a viable, independent state. Obama’s empty rhetoric is part of that game; in substance it nothing more than that.

    For a state to exist it should have sufficient land. In 1948, Israel was given 78 percent of the land and the remainder 22 percent was for the Arab population of Palestine. Through its illegal settlements and territorial expansion Israel has taken away almost one-third of the 22 percent of the Palestinian land. This fact alone shows that any possibility to create a viable independent Palestinian state is zero. But if such an entity will ever come into existence then the first condition is to give back all the stolen land since 1967 and wiping out all the illegal settlements in the occupied territories. All such stolen Palestinian land belongs to the Palestinians; Israeli theft and expropriation of such land are crimes under international law, which cannot be used to justify the as ‘new facts on the ground’.

  11. M Lossier March 22, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    I am baffled to read all discussion on this topic and not see the nation of Jordan get a mention. If the Palestinian people (as we know them today) are to reclaim a major percentage of their land, why not start with Jordan aka Trans Jordan – previously Palestine! Jordan is much larger than Israel and it’s former revered King Hussein brutally crushed Yasser Arafat’s attempted takeover it from within over 40 years ago. (black September),killing tens of thousands within Jordan.
    But of course if this obvious and logical point was ever given too much oxygen,(open any atlas early 20th century)the call for Israel to concede more land wouldn’t be as relevant!
    Jordan is and has always been the real key to peace, as it was approx 78% of old Palestine. To ignore Jordan in the equation is once more revising history and playing bandwagon politics!

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  4. Richard Falk: Obama’s Flawed Approach to the Israel/Palestine Conflict « Peace and Justice Post - May 23, 2011

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