“Why The Stink Over the ’67 Borders Now?”

A borderline-confused Greg in Australia wants to know:

Why the stink over the ’67 borders now?

Charles Krauthammer articulates the clearest explanation I’ve seen on why the 1967 borders are such an issue. It begins with American assurances to Israel before the Gaza disengagement:

It’s on the basis of such solemn assurances that Israel undertook, for example, the Gaza withdrawal. In order to mitigate this risk, President George W. Bush gave a written commitment that America supported Israel absorbing major settlement blocs in any peace agreement, opposed any return to the 1967 lines and stood firm against the so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel.

For 2 1/2 years, the Obama administration has refused to recognize and reaffirm these assurances. Then last week in his State Department speech, President Obama definitively trashed them. He declared that the Arab-Israeli conflict should indeed be resolved along “the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”

Nothing new here, said Obama three days later. “By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different” from 1967.

It means nothing of the sort. “Mutually” means both parties have to agree. And if one side doesn’t? Then, by definition, you’re back to the 1967 lines.

 

This isn’t the first time Big Media has become confused by Israel-US understandings. In 2009, an anonymous source used the NY Times to “send a message” to Israel on settlement activity, which had bloggers trying to understand the understandings.

Indeed, if you need an example of Big Media’s blind spot over the latest dust up, look no further than Friday’s NY Times staff-ed:

Mr. Netanyahu immediately insisted that Israel would never return to the “indefensible” pre-1967 boundaries. Playing to his conservative base at home, and on Capitol Hill, he ignored the second half of Mr. Obama’s statement about “mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

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