"We believe 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," President Obama stated in part of his speech today on U.S. policy and the Middle East. He then went on to say a little later, "The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace," adding that "the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation."
However any peace will not happen until the underlying problem, which is the continued stonewalling by Palestinians and other Arab nations, in their refusal to deny Israel's right to exist.
Lest we forget, the 6-day war, or the June War began June 6, 1967. Prior to the surprise attack by Israel, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan gathered tens of thousands of troops, tanks, and artillery along Israel's border. It was as if Mexico or Canada gathered their full military along the border of the United States threatening war. What was Israel to do? So Israel attacked and swiftly destroyed her enemies.
The rest as they say is history. Israel found herself in control of the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Sinai Peninsula. All of a sudden Israel found herself ruling over the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinians.
Again it was not a war Israel sought out, but once committed, she was going to win. So let's do away with this idea that Israel somehow took these lands from the rightful owners. If that is the argument we might as well return Texas to Mexico or the entire United States back to the native Americans. It is essentially the same argument. What other nation has given back or been forced to give back land won in a legitimate war?
Israel first and foremost has every right to take care of her security needs. Why she is denied this in world opinion when every other nation has this right is absolutely ludicrous. We should note that the United Nations has adopted more resolutions against Israel than any other nation in the world including North Korea, China, and Iran.
Israel, for her future, does need a safe secure peace with her neighbors and with the Palestinians. Could this include a two-state nation? Possibly. But it only works if the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist. Or as the President said, "how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question."
This first and foremost absolutely has to happen before any negotiation about borders can take place. For if they do not recognize Israel, what is there to talk about in 1967 or 2011?