The core of Obamas speech (as applies to Palestine) consists of a list of musts that should serve as the principal foundation for negotiations. None of these musts should be objectionable to reasonable Arabs; besides, Obama is unequivocal about three fundamental Arab demands: (1) No Israeli army to stay in Palestine (ie, Palestine gets control over the Jordan basin). (2) Palestine should become “a sovereign and contiguous state” (ie, away with the panhandle). (3) "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” (ie, no pre-conditions about the large blocs. Conversely he makes a concession to Israel on the matter of “Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people.” But that is something which the Arabs will learn how to live with once their other demands are met. The main thrust of the speech is to recommend an approach based on territory and security (thus meeting crucial concerns of both sides), leaving the knotty issue of the refugees to the future. Other than that, the speech is significant for two things it does not say. There is nothing in this speech which suggests that Obama is trying to restart the negotiations, let alone broker them. "Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away. But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples.” Also, despite the clear warning that he is against isolating Israel at the UN, there is nothing in the speech that clearly states he is opposed to Palestine’s bid for UN membership. In other words, he is leaving the field to the Europeans. Other than that, his strongest pro-Israeli remarks are based on two wrong premises, and therefore have no weight. (1) The Palestinians are trying to delegitimize Israel. Wrong, they delegitimize only the occupation. (2) Hamas insists on terror and rejection. All the signs show that Hamas is distancing itself from that stance.
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