The Former US President Barack Obama speaking at the AIPAC conference in Washington DC on May 22nd 2011 [Photo | Courtesy]
"The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps" were words by the former US President Barack Obama in a speech delivered on a day like this ten years ago.
President Barack Obama had made that proposal in a State Department meeting on the Thursday of May 19th 2011 and they irked the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was in Washington DC for a conference at that time that he angrily differed with the POTUS moments later.
This forced President Obama to once again talk about the issue and explain himself in detail on what he meant with that line while gracing over the above pictured American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on the Sunday of May 22nd 2011.
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While explaining what he meant by saying that the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, President Obama said that he had basically noted that "peace cannot be imposed on parties at a conflict" but rather they have to negotiate or participate in getting the peace themselves.
He therefore said that by definition, his proposal meant that "the parties themselves, that's Israel and Palestine will have to negotiate a border that's different than that which came to exist on June 4th 1967."
That this is the only formula that could yield a lasting solution since it allows parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place since 1967. Obama's proposal was delivered at minute 3:20 of the video in the following link: https://youtu.be/djzfZAWl4bw.
In his interpretation of President Barack Obama's proposal that May, PM Netanyahu had come out guns blazing on why "it was impossible" to go back to the below pictured 1967 border lines.
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This is because he thought the POTUS had refered to the armistice demarcation lines that existed from 1949 up to June 4th 1967 when Israel captured Gaza Strip from Egypt and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan in the aftermath of the six day war with Arab States.
Speaking from the White House that day, President Netanyahu said indeed that Israel wants peace, a lasting peace but that such kind of peace can't be based on illusions but rather reality and facts.
That in as much as Israel is ready to make generous compromises for peace, "it cannot go back to 1967 lines because these lands (Gaza and East Jerusalem) are indefensible" and that such a proposal "doesn't take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground demographically" since 1967.
Screenshot of President Obama and Netanyahu in a conversation in 2011.
He also said that Israel can't negotiate with Palestine on solving the Palestinian problem because "the Palestinian Government is backed by the Hamas which is a terror organization or rather a Palestinian version of the Al Qaeda" yet Israel doesn't negotiate with terrorists.
On this, PM Netanyahu gave President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine two options. That's to "cut ties with the Hamas and make peace with Israel or keep his pact with the Hamas." His speech is in the video of this link: https://youtu.be/fcZtDrkuCd0.
Ten years after that proposal by President Obama and the White House conversation, Palestine and Israel are still in a crisis today in 2021 because the proposal was discarded in the trash bin by PM Netanyahu when Palestine would've gladly accepted either of its interpretations.
The interpretations being going back to the pre June 4th 1967 demarcation lines as interpreted by Netanyahu or Israel and Palestine meeting on the negotiation table once again and deciding how they'll demarcate new border lines for the two states just like how it was done before arriving at the April 6th 1949 deal.
Palestinians in a protest [Photo | Courtesy]
We are certain that this is the only solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and that Palestine would've been willing to go for either of the interpretations of Obama's proposal because since 1994, the Hamas group which is currently fighting Israel has frequently stated that it would accept a truce if Israel goes back to the 1967 borders, offers paid reparations, allows free elections in Palestine's territories and gives Palestinian refugees the right to return.
In his attempt to minimize Israel's occupation of Palestine and ease tension between Israel and Palestine, the 11th Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israeli troops from Gaza in 2005 but West Bank remains occupied up to date.
For the current conflict to come to an end, most experts believe that Israelis and Palestinians would have to swap territory on either side of West Bank.
Since Israel occupies West Bank militarily and allowed Jews to build settlements in Palestine's territories, it has to see into it that they are repatriated back to Israel then support Palestinian autonomy.
Palestinians running away after Israel raining white sulphur on their premises in a 2009 Israel-Palestine conflict [Photo Courtesy | The Guardian]
Remember Hamas was founded in 1987 for the purpose of liberating Palestine from Israeli occupation and if that goal is not achieved, the fighting might go on for quite a while since the organization literally controls Gaza. The question is, will Israel agree to negotiate with Palestine?