Debate Magazine

A Critical Review of Obama’s 5-19 Speech on Israel

Posted on the 24 May 2011 by Shahalexander
President Barack Obama delivered speech to address fundamental approaches for Middle East reform in view of successful attack to Osama bin Laden. Among a wide range of issues in the speech, the Israeli-Palestine mention has drawn a focal attention by the media. The global community applauded to hear Obama’s message on May 19 that Israel withdraw to the 1967 border for Middle East peace process. Is this really a breakthrough as widely expected? Let me comment briefly.
From Israeli viewpoints, Obama demanded Israel to swap the land without requesting anything to the Palestinian side. David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post points out that Obama failed to mention historical ties between the Jews and current Israeli territory in the Cairo speech in 2009. Without this history-sovereignty ties are accepted, real compromise between Israel and Palestine cannot be achieved, he says (“Obama’s failure to internalize Palestinian intolerance”; Jerusalem Post; May 20, 2011). Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu interprets that Obama’s speech overturns the 2004 agreement between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, that is, no complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 line and Palestinian refugees’ incorporation into the future Palestinian state. Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post criticizes Obama’s remark from the following three points. First, as Obama said the 1967 borders be the baseline for the peace process, Israel must hand over all the territory acquired in the Six Day War to the Palestinian side. This is to say that Obama defends Palestinian policy goal while demanding a complete compromise for Israel. Second, Obama did not reconfirm the 2004 agreement that Palestinian refugees return to a Palestinian state. This makes the refugee issue vague and provokes concerns on the Israeli side. Third, Obama suggested to engage Hamas without clearly demanding fundamental principles: curbing terrorism, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements (”Analysis: What rankled Netanyahu in the Obama speech”; Jerusalem Post; May 20, 2011).
Let me mention some critical comments to Obama’s proposal on the American side. Though complete withdrawal of Israel is unlikely, American policymakers expect that the national border will be somewhat similar to the 1967 lines. The 2004 agreement is interpreted like this way on both the American and the Israeli side. However, Danielle Pletka, Vice President at the American Enterprise Institute, mentions that the timing and the balance of this speech are inappropriate. Obama decided to insert the 1967 line just before the speech without listening to his senior advisors. There is no wonder Prime Minister Netanyahu was startled to hear this controversial speech as he stood by President Obama at the joint press conference. As to the balance, Obama failed to condemn terrorism by Hamas and poor governance in the Palestine area. She says this imbalance is rooted to Obama’s antipathy to Israel, which is unacceptable to American values and interests (“A Little More on the 1967 Lines, Obama and Israel”; Enterprise Blog; May 20, 2011). In any case, I would argue that Obama has made the same mistake to overturn previous agreements without giving sufficient consideration to the timing and the balance as former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama did on Futemma Air Base.
It is premature to praise Obama’s new proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian peace talk. On the other hand, Barack Obama outlined to reconfirm Bush administration’s policy to promote democracy in the Middle East, and the global community must pay more attention to this primary message in the 5-19 speech. Without airy fairy performance to shock Benyamin Netanyahu, this speech would have been more meaningful, and it is a pity.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Healthy Cauliflower Pizza!

    Healthy Cauliflower Pizza!

    ‘Can pizza ever be healthy?‘, you may be wondering, as I also did once upon a time. But being a normal human being, I absolutely adore the occasional pleasure o... Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Fitnessontoast
    DIET & WEIGHT, FASHION, FITNESS, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, LIFE COACH, LIFESTYLE
  • How Utilities Are Trying to Slow Down Rooftop Solar

    Utilities Trying Slow Down Rooftop Solar

    GR: Utility companies don’t want you to save money by adopting solar power. Utilities that should earn their public status by working for the common good,... Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Garry Rogers
    ANIMALS & WILDLIFE, BOOKS, ENVIRONMENT
  • 8 Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

    Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

    Even entrepreneurs who have built many startups, or sold their last one for millions of dollars, know they make occasional people leadership mistakes. Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

    What Underlying Cause Addiction?

    Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of... Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Lisaorchard
    LIFESTYLE
  • Massive Cards

    Massive Cards

    This last year I had less and less time to draw as my research project advanced. It’s sad, but I always knew that it would be difficult to combine science and... Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Matteofarinella
    COMIC BOOKS, ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Favourite 39 - Swimwear Edition

    Photo Favourite Swimwear Edition

    Summer is often a hard time for plus size people, and swimwear is often a big part of that anxiety. Here i have 13 gorgeous ladies showing you that no matter... Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Boo_brown
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Odeon: The Gallery

    Odeon: Gallery

    I did this at the Metrocentre cinema for Dunkirk in IMAX.Cool Tables! The staff are fantastic in the bar area and you are given a number with the screen you... Read more

    The 22 July 2017 by   Caz
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES

Paperblog Hot Topics

Magazines