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The much anticipated speech of Obama has come and gone. It was delivered on Thursday 19th May 2011. A day after his speech was delivered,
Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the and had a meeting with Obama which was rather cold and emphasized their differences in approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. US
After having read Obama's speech in the press, it is obvious that nothing new was said. Obama attempted at saying the right things to both sides to prevent controversy. The reaction to returning to the pre-1967 borders was predictable in Netanyahu's reaction. He stated that that the pre-1967 borders are indefensible. However, Netanyahu did hint that he was prepared to make wide ranging concessions for peace. What this means in practice is anybody's guess.
The speech was delightfully vague and diplomatically correct and did not offer any solutions
While Obama is aware of
Israel's security needs and emphasized US commitment to Israel, he is also aware that Hamas's agreement with Fatah adds an additional problem to the peace process between and the Palestinians. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel Israel's right to exist and has been responsible for numerous acts of terror against 's citizens over the years. One can understand Israel Israel not being willing to negotiate with Hamas being in the picture while its attitude against 's existence remains uncompromising. Israel
On the other hand Israel's occupation policy, which is basically colonization of Palestinian lands by the continuation of building new homes in occupied Palestinian lands is also a great obstacle to peace and this has been going on for many years even before Hamas signed an agreement with the Fatah ruled Palestinian Authority.
Israel's colonization policies on the ground are proof that does not intend to ever relinquish territory to the Palestinians in any peace agreement irrespective of Hamas being with Fatah or not. It is just an added excuse on Israel Israel's part to maintain the situation as it is by not showing any willingness to freeze settlements in the West Bank. Nothing that Netanyahu says will convince any reasonable person of the contrary. The proof is in the pudding. The more settlements built in the occupied territories, the less viable will the future Palestinian state be. It is not about Israel's security being compromised; it is more about 's colonization policy of keeping the Palestinians without a state for as long as possible. Israel
Israel ceased building on occupied Palestinian lands and encouraging Israeli settlement there then we could say that has no Palestinian partner for peace. Is Israel Israel a partner for peace while it carries on its settler policies in the occupied West Bank?
The inclusion of Hamas in the negotiating picture must be viewed as an added obstacle, but
's indecisiveness and expansionist policies must also bear part of the blame. Obama's speech to AIPAC on Sunday 22nd May 2011, somehow did clear some misunderstandings. This speech was clear and proved the US commitment to Israel's security. Obama also made it clear that there is not much time and that withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines must be made with adjustments and land swaps agreeable to all sides. This was one of the most pro Israel speeches ever made by Obama. Israel
As mentioned in a previous article, Hamas was seeking a new godfather as they could not rely on the Assad regime of
Syria and the Ahmadinajad regime of to support them anymore owing to the uprisings in the Arab world. Both regimes are involved in suppressing opposition groups in their countries and Hamas realized that their support base was weakening in these countries. Iran
Obama stated in his speech that the
US would not support a unilateral declaration of a in September 2011. This can be viewed as a temporary respite for Palestinian State . However it is just that and no more. The fact that Hamas has signed an agreement with Fatah is not as negative as it seems. Hamas will take a low key in the peace negotiations which will be left to the PA. This means that Israel will also be included. If negotiations begin and show signs of progress, the siege on Gaza will also end. Gaza