May 24th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

Netanyahu's attempt to patch things up

Editor's Note: The following is a transcript of an interview with Zvika Krieger, senior vice president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and former Middle East correspondent for Newsweek Magazine.

I think that the speech was a clear attempt by Prime Minister Netanyahu to patch things up with President Obama. His strategy last week when he arrived in Washington seemed to be to emphasize his differences with Obama – going so far as to misrepresent the President’s position on the 1967 lines. In his speech today he bent over backwards to quote the President and show that in fact their positions are quite similar, particularly that the president did not demand that Israel return to the 1967 lines.

The parameters that President Obama set for a basis of negotiations allow for an incredible amount of flexibility. People who are unfamiliar with the terminology and jargon of negotiation think that that Obama was in some way trying to presuppose the outcome of negotiation. But as Netanyahu himself said in his speech today, Obama’s formulation allows for the vast majority of the Israelis that live beyond the 1967 lines to be annexed into Israel under a final peace agreement, and would allow Israel to have its security needs met.

You’ll notice an important part of Netanyahu’s speech - which was not the first time he said it but it’s a relatively new formulation for him – he didn’t say that Israel demands a permanent military presence in the Jordan Valley. He said a long-term presence in the Jordan Valley. That’s very much in line with what President Obama said in his speech - that Israel should not be expected to withdraw militarily from the West Bank until the effectiveness of any security arrangement is demonstrated. The Israel Defense Forces should be able to retain a presence in the Jordan Valley until it is comfortable with any alternate security arrangements.

Netanyahu also made it clear that Israel is going to keep the major settlement blocks but evacuate the settlements outside those blocs. He said that for the first time last week in the Knesset speech, but this is the first time he is saying it in English in front of an American audience. It’s big for Netanyahu to say it, but it has been the assumption of every US administration and every serious negotiation since Camp David. This was Netanyahu’s late arrival to the realm of reality.

There’s an increasing consensus across the board that the Hamas-Fatah unity government was a short-sighted move by Abbas. Abbas says that he is not planning on running for reelection in 2012. He does not think there is any chance for a negotiated peace before he leaves office, so he’s looking for some way to secure his legacy. The way he is doing that is by having the Palestinian statehood resolution passed in the UN and by securing Palestinian unity, which he sees as an accomplishment in and of itself.

If Abbas realizes that the calculations have changed and there is reason to believe that abandoning Hamas may lead to negotiations that have a reasonable chance of succeeding, he may rethink his alliance with Hamas. It has certainly undermined his supporters in the US. The Hill is going full throttle in making sure that Abbas feels the ramifications of allying with a terrorist organization.

The Jerusalem issue is more complicated that Netanyahu makes it out to be. Jerusalem is certainly a sticky issue and I welcomed Netanyahu’s statement that “creativity and good will” may help us get to some final status agreement that is acceptable to both sides. But in the same way that Palestinian leadership must begin conditioning their people for the inevitable compromise on the question of refugees, the Israeli leadership needs to condition their public for the “creativity” that will be needed on Jerusalem.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Barb Miller

    When He complained about UN Observers & Peacekeepers disappearing overnight...he forgot to say that Israel bombed a UN outpost & killed four UN personnel. He wants everything his way or the highway..This man doesn't understand the world "diplomacy". Israeli lobby in Us and Canada must not be allowed to set our foreign policies . Yes support Israel but not when they killed unjustly (flotilla) and use "cluster bombs".

    May 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  2. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    9/11 was very good for Israel
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Théâtre de l'Absurde
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    9/11 was very good for Israel

    May 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  3. Joe Green

    The master plan for the Islamic terror organization al Qaeda that calls for worldwide Islamic domination is right on schedule but it will not come about according to Bible prophecy.

    According to published reports, the master plan for the world domination by al Qaeda is right on schedule. We're now watching phase 4 of the seven stage plan taking place with the street demonstrators in the Arab capitals in the Middle East leading the way for the downfall of hated Arab leaders, basically the moderate Arab leaders that are willing to coexist with a Jewish state in the Middle East. The phase 4 plan also calls for an attack on oil supplies and the United States economy. Already it is evidenced that the plan has been effective in Tunisia and Egypt with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to be the next targets. Ironically the West is downplaying these threats to take over the world by the Islamists.

    A student of Bible prophecy, however, would recognize what is happening as the prewritten history recorded over 2500 years ago by the ancient Jewish prophets. Joel wrote that the largest military might ever formed on the earth will take place in the last days. It will be a massive Moslem militia according to Joel 2:1-4. Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah all add additional information to the end times scenario that we can see unfolding right now. Ezekiel, however, reveals that the Moslem militia will not form this desired caliphate, a global dominion. Jesus will intercede from heaven and destroy the al Qaeda forces (Ezekiel 38:18-39:6). Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

    May 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  4. Ariely

    – Change your thoughts and you change your world. byNorman Vincent Peale
    Palestinian changing their thoughts and:
    *Recognize Israel Jewish state
    *Build a life for Arabs refugees in Arab counties
    (As Israel done for 850.000 Jew refugees from Arab countries)
    *Provide Arabs citizens the same democratic life that Israeli Arabs share with the Jews
    And the Palestinians will change their and Israeli world.
    Netanyahu speech represents Israel citizen's consensus.
    Peaty that Netanyahu didn’t include quotes articles from Hamas and Muslim brotherhood ideology, threatening all cultures worldwide not only Israel:
    1:Under the Islam wing Islam,Christiannity,Judaism may coexist.
    2: Sharia goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force till the Day of Judgment.
    Muslim brotherhood
    1: "Hitler didn’t finish the job-The Muslims will finish the Job"
    Muslim brotherhood leader speech in Cairo before 1 million people
    Broadcasted by BBC one month ago
    2; "A Muslim can come closer to Allah by waging jihad against all non-Muslims,Christians,Jews, atheists, in every possible manner.
    Dr. Ahmad 'Abd about Al-Walaa Wa'l-Bar

    May 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  5. America First

    Netanyahu attempted to play politics with the American President, in front of American media, in America`s executive mansion. Bad move.

    He seemed to have concluded [wrongly] that the rabid tea party zealotry of the GOP combined with an invivation by the head Republican – Boehner – gave him liscense to challenge and disrespect the President during this visit.

    Barack looked like he was about to bitch-slap Netanyahu but, as usual, was his calm, cool & collected self. However, at the end of the day, he`s still the leader of the only remaining Superpower and there are many citizens that noticed and DID NOT appreciate his public whining.

    Israel has about another 10 years to work out all of the issues that continue to create turmoil over ther. They ARE going to have to yield on something. Stop the bravado Netanyahu and get busy.Americans wont tolerate your chip-on-a-shoulder behavior forever.

    This comes from a citizen, not the President – and there are many more like me.

    May 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Nethanyahu's defiant speech was made in Obama's absence. It showed that their differences were so unbridgeable, that they didn't really care, how the other party would react. I don't expect words be translated into actions, as they are quite hollow. I am sure Obama will try again. He understands how pivotal it is to resolve this conflict.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  6. Shalom - As-Salaam-Alaikum

    Zvika Krieger- I like your analysis. You have clarified the issues and the possibilities of a future 'settlement'. To me, the big unknown and 'fly-in-the-ointment' will be the outcome of the Fatha-Hamas accord. One must have hope (and keep your ammo dry). May G-d bless the peacemakers.

    May 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  7. jon

    The Islamic claim to Jerusalem is false !

    muhammad flew on a magical horse in one night from mecca the birth place of islam to a "Further Mosque" (which muslims claim located on the temple mount), and back therefore jerusalem is holy to muslims.
    There were no mosques in Jerusalem in 632 c.e. at the death of Muhammad... Jerusalem was a Christian-occupied city
    In the days of Muhammad, who died in 632 of the Common Era, Jerusalem was a Christian-occupied city within the Byzantine Empire. Jerusalem was captured by caliph Omar only in 638 c.e., six years after Muhammad's death.
    Throughout all this time there were only churches in Jerusalem, and a church stood on the Temple Mount, called the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian, built in the Byzantine architectural style
    (the mosques shapes you commonly see today are a copy of Byzantine architectural style Churches !, you didn't know that did ya?)
    'In the Book of Raids, early Muslim historian and biographer "Waqidi"(أبو عبد الله محمد بن عمر بن واقد ‏) described Muhammad's stay in the village of Jiranah a few miles outside Mecca. He wrote:
    The Prophet arrived in Jiranah on Thursday, and remained 13 nights. He then departed Jiranah after praying at the Al-Aqsa="Further Mosque" located on the shore of the river bed. The Prophet used to pray there whenever he came to Jiranah.'

    Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya (AD 638-700), a close relative of Muhammad, have said, denigrating the notion that the prophet of Islam ever set foot on the Rock in Jerusalem; ‘these damned Syrians,' by which he means the Umayyads, ‘pretend that Allah put His foot on the Rock in Jerusalem, though one person ever put his foot on the rock, namely Abraham.'

    ... and it's kinda funny to me that the Quran doesn't mention the fakestinians or jerusalem even once ! ! !
    but the israelis many times !
    يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ: "
    and now, my people (the Israelites), enter the Holy Land which Allah has destined for you.
    -Qur'an, Sura 5:21-
    -Qu'ran, Sura 17:104-

    "You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time"
    bob marly.

    May 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
    • mahdiz

      i think you are Interpreting wrong information from True data !
      i think you have made a mistake in separating Religions from each other .
      Religion of Abraham (pbuh) , Religion of Jesus Christ (pbuh) , Religion of Moses (pbuh) , all are one truth !
      these core of these Religions have no Conflict together !
      i mean all of these religions belief in Monotheism !
      there is no more than one Great God !
      one god who sent Abraham (pbuh) !
      one god who sent Christ (pbuh) !
      one god who sent Moses (pbuh) !
      one god who sent Muhammad (pbuh) !
      why we Occupy lands ?All earth is for All God's Creatures !
      Palestine belong to Palestinians and Jews can live under the Flag of Palestine in Peace !
      look at this :
      32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
      33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.
      34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.
      Genesis , Chapter 21
      Philistines' land means a land which belong to Palestinians not Jews !
      Abraham (pbuh) was a guest in their land !

      September 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  8. jon

    Quoting sites on the internet is poiintless, because, since when has the internet told the whole story from all sides. I think watching recorded documentaries would tell a better story and prove the facts on the ground better than the one sided internet. Those refugees left because the Arab leaders told them to leave so they would not be harmed while they massacre the Jews "infesting the land". That was from Nassers own biography. Furthermore, in 1974 Abu Mazen in an interview stated that same facts as Nasser did but changed his tune last Monday in the New York Times op ed. I feel for your issues with Israel, but let me be clear as to the rules of WAR: To the victor go the spoiles!!! The Arabs and Israeli's went to war several times over the last 70 years and the Arabs lost nearly everytime. Don't give me this, only with help from the U.S. garbage. The Arabs had plenty of help from the Soviets and now Chinese, which most people seem to never mention when speaking of the Palestinian sob story. Never in history has a nation ever given land for peace. The fact that Israel has done this with Egypt for peace was unprecidented and opened the door for where we are today. The Palestinians should have settled this issue in 2000 and most of them regret they didn't. This world has always been anti-semetic as proven through the thousands of years the Jews have been murdered and persecuted. You cry over less than 100 years that but give no sympathy for what the Jews have endured. You do not agree with the fact that Palestine was a name the Romans gave the land after the Jewish uprising in 70 a.d. You state that the Palestinians are the origional inhabitants of the land which is not true either, they emegrated from arabia, hence the term sunni. The origional cannanites and philistians were conqured and wiped out 3000 plus years ago. You do not even believe that there was a Temple in Jerusalem and that it was destoryed be the Romans after the Jewish uprising in 70 a.d!!! The internet is full of propaganda and lies that fuel these historical rewrites. Is Israel wrong? Yes!!! Are the Arabs wrong? Yes!!! As I stated before, in WAR, TO THE VICTOR GO THE SPOILES!!! Accept it and take what the victors give you in exchange for peace and stability, so you can save your society and culture from turning into the Caninites and Philistines!!! Remember this one stone cold fact, had it been the Arabs that won, the Jews would not have been so LUCKY!!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  9. mahdiz

    i think this Image will show Netanyahu with better perspective :

    September 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply

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