So despite lecturing (and here and here) President Obama about the audacity of suggesting “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,” reports suggest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now willing to accept U.S phrasing in an effort to draw the Palestinian Authority away from a UN push for recognition in September.
Let’s be clear: the Netanyahu government is now willing to accept the very lines it said were “indefensible.” Of course the lines were never indefensible. (Never mind that Obama’s phrasing of May 19, 2011, was entirely consistent with past Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.)
In exchange, Netanyahu apparently wants agreement that Israel will be able to annex settlement blocs (and reports suggest the US agrees, not surprising given past talks and the Bush-Sharon letter of 2004. That is why Obama’s phrasing included the term “swaps” in the first place.)
Netanyahu also wants:
Officials in Jerusalem have said that the offer only stands if the Palestinians are prepared to recognise Israel as a Jewish state and retract their application for recognition of an independent Palestinian state, which is to be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly next month.
I found it especially amusing that I received a robocall yesterday from the Republican Jewish Coalition decrying Obama’s call to return to the 1967 lines. The total inaccuracy of the RJC call was especially pathetic given the Israeli government’s apparent change of heart. Suffice to say, the RJC web site has changed and the 1967 lines story has been downgraded.
The PA seems to be waiting for Netanyahu to use the 1967 lines phrase publicly. PA officials remain opposed to the Jewish state language.