It was a stunning tableau, a President of the United States sitting back and glaring while the Prime Minister of Israel pushed back against the words made by the POTUS yesterday. Both parties made their presentations in friendly diplomatic words, but Netanyahu gave the President a “friendly” dressing down, his words were instructive and firm. You could tell by the body language that Bibi was letting the President know that he was not going to give in, and Obama was very angry.
Once introduced by the President, Netanyahu took the meeting over. Hereminded the President that Israel too, desperately wants peace and he personally wants peace, but any negotiated peace has to endure. “We both believe that a peace based on allusions will crash on the rocks of Middle East Reality….The only peace that will endure is ones that are based on reality…unshakable facts.”
The Prime Minister proceeded to give the President a dose of reality, and the President gave the PM a dose of his unhappy glare. …For there to be peace the Palestinians (and Obama) will have to accept some basic realities. Two of the three realities outline by Netanyahu were in direct conflict with what Obama said yesterday.
- Israel cannot return to the 1967 lines because they are indefensible, and he reminded the POTUS that those old boundries led to war many times before.
- Agreeing with the president, he reminded him that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with the Palestinian version of al Qaeda.
- He reminded Obama that the 1948 attack on Israel resulted in two refugee problems, a Palestinian problem and a Jewish one. Tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, the Arabs refused to absorb the Palestinian ones. Any “right of return” must be implemented within the borders of a Palestinian State.
Netanyahu was firm, he told the President that its time to definitively tell the Palestinians that “It’s not going to happen. Everybody knows it’s not going to happen,” he said. While the refugees need a place to live, he said, “It’s not going to be resolved within the Jewish state.”
He followed with a statesman-like reminder of the Jewish quest to reestablish a state of their own in the Holy Land and ended with “History is not going to give us another chance.”
We’ve been around for almost 4,000 years. We have experienced struggle and suffering like no other people. We’ve gone through expulsions and pogroms and massacres and the murder of millions.
But I can say that even at the dearth of — even at the nadir of the valley of death, we never lost hope and we never lost our dream of re-establishing a sovereign state in our ancient homeland, the land of Israel. And now it falls on my shoulders as the prime minister of Israel at a time of extraordinary instability and uncertainty in the Middle East to work with you to fashion a peace that will ensure Israel’s security and will not jeopardize its survival.
I take this responsibility with pride but with great humility, because, as I told you in our conversation, we don’t have a lot of margin for error and because, Mr. President, history will not give the Jewish people another chance.
I think Obama got his answer and it was vintage Netanyahu.
Normally I would object to a foreign to School the President of the United States, but in this case it was justified. This happened in response to President Obama throwing Israel under the bus. And unilaterally ripping up an agreement made between Israel and the United States. What made it even worse was that Obama’s people had just assured the Israeli leader that the 1967 borders would not be brought up during the speech. Keeping that in mind perhaps Bibi was a little too soft on the POTUS.
The video of Netanyahu’s words are below.