The Obama speech today… in three words… “some significant statements;” in two words… “double standard;” and in a word… “disappointing.”
It was gratifying to listen to Obama’s eloquence in displaying “universal rights” that must be enjoyed by all, including Arab masses. The hope was that he would declare his belief that those wonderful principles of equal humanity and universal rights also apply to the Palestinians, but his words fell short of that threshold.
On the question of Palestine, the most significant statement Obama made was when he was describing his vision of resolving the conflict through the establishment of two states; Israel and Palestine. Obama said that “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.” However, the lack of demand from Israel to comply and the watering down of the principle by injecting words like “with mutually agreed swaps” negatively impact the credibility of his entire statement. Those words “with mutually agreed swaps” open the door wide open for the same experience of the last twenty years of endless, fruitless negotiations while the brutal occupation continues.
It was disgusting to see and hear Obama’s obvious attempt to appease the Zionist lobby with his boring display of unqualified, unconditional, and blind support for Israel, even as he attempted to imply his displeasure of continued Israeli settlement building and occupation. At the same time, Obama demanded that the Palestinians must satisfy Israeli concerns; including that the Palestinian state be demilitarized and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
It was hypocritical of Obama to state great principles and at the same time fail to say that those principles apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians. One striking example: Hamas is a Palestinian political party that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist as much as Yisrael Beitieno (the party of Israeli minister of foreign affairs Avigdor Lieberman) is an Israeli political party that advocates the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and transferring them to Jordan. Obama did not demand from Yisrael Beitieno to recognize Palestinian’s entitlement to equal universal human rights, but he demanded from Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. In other words, it seems acceptable to Obama for Yisrael Beitieno to be part of Israel’s ruling coalition, but it is not acceptable for Hamas to be part of a national reconciliation agreement among Palestinian political parties.
This speech will be rated in history books as inconsequential. Its empty rhetoric will go nowhere; more specifically, it will fail to advance the cause of peace in Palestine because it neglects the two elements that make peace sustainable; justice and equal humanity for all Israelis and all Palestinians. However, this speech might serve as Obama’s offering of his credentials to the Zionist lobby in order that the lobby might support – or at least not vigorously oppose – his bid for a second term in the 2012 presidential elections.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!