Obama says that his remarks calling for the Israelis to return to its pre-1967 borders “with swaps” were “misrepresented”. So, he was misunderstood by everyone – everyone – including Benjamin Netanyahu after two hours of private consultations at the White House? Remember, after the consultations the two leaders sat in the oval office in the familiar fireside press briefing. The two began speaking to the press as usual, but then started talking to each other directly. This is when Netanyahu stated that the return to the 1967 lines was “not going to happen”, then repeated the line for emphasis. This was after Obama's intial speech on Thursday, when he sand-bagged the Israeli prime minister with remarks that the White House previously had said that he wouldn't make, & after Netanyahu's speedy reply in the Jerusalem Post rejecting them.
If the explanation that Obama gave to AIPAC yesterday has been the plan all along, he should have said so from the beginning. Otherwise it looks as if he is scrambling to adjust the position, or he’s trying to say different things to different audiences, much like the Islamic Supremacist spokesmen who say conciliatory words to the West in English, but far different ones to the Arab world in Arabic. I vote for the scrambling.
But to say that everyone misunderstood him? What arrogance.
Update: And now Obama 'rejects the controversy' over his remarks.
However, he said, his policy on the border issue "means that the parties themselves -- Israelis and Palestinians -- will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967," the eve of the war. Those negotiations will involve "mutually agreed-upon" land swaps to deal with changing conditions of recent decades, he said.
"That's what mutually agreed-upon swaps means. It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation," Obama said to applause. "It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years," including the new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides.If this is the same formulation that the two sides have worked on "for a generation", then what is so bold about his original speech?
His proposal contained "nothing particularly original," he said, adding that "this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations."
"If there is a controversy, then, it's not based in substance," Obama said.Who writes his speeches? Emily Litella?
Update: Bret Stephens, certainly not the most conservative writer at the Wall Street Journal, weighs in.