If Drudge knew anything about Middle East policy his headline would read: OBAMA TO NETANYAHU: BALL’S IN YOUR COURT.

Clearly the Right isn’t on the side of the American President, which is getting more unseemly as we creep closer to election season. It puts U.S. Middle East policy in a political vice, which is why our Mideast policy resembles Swiss cheese.

“President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace,” Romney said in a statement. “He has also violated a first principle of American foreign policy, which is to stand firm by our friends,” added the former Massachusetts governor. – Obama ‘disrespected’ Israel, threw it ‘under the bus,’ says Romney

Could Romney have said anything more meaningless and less informative? Unlikely.

Pres. Obama and every White House occupant since Truman has pledged to defend Israel. What doesn’t the Right understand about this unflagging commitment?

Drudge answers up in the far left corner of the graphic above: OBAMA SIDES WITH THE PALESTINIANS.

On the contrary, Obama told the Palestinians that declaring statehood through the U.N. is a non-starter.

The idiot Right is so dense they don’t get that the Arab spring is on Israel’s doorstep, making the status quo (even less) unsustainable and everything much more urgent.

As for PM Netanyahu’s reaction, he was not amused.

Daniel Levy, most often my Israel-Palestine guide, weighed in via email, so I thought I’d share some of what he wrote:

The President adopted a position that some have been advocating for over a year by focusing on first setting out parameters for borders and security. The specific language he used in addressing what a border outcome should look like was new for the US President: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

Establishing the “˜67 lines as the clear reference point takes the Israeli prime minister out of his comfort zone. Unfortunately the President did not explicitly say equal or equivalent land swaps (as the Europeans have done); he did say “agreed”, but that is not new.

In the Cairo speech of June 2009, there was no reference to “˜67. In his UN General Assembly speech of last year the President sufficed with repeating the Road Map language about ending the “occupation that began in 1967.” Other senior officials have referred to “˜67 lines as the basis for a territorial arrangement only in the context of this being a Palestinian aspiration. More significantly and troublingly from the perspective of the Israeli PM, President Obama did not refer to realities on the ground or settlements blocs (and Obama was wise in avoiding this). In so doing, Obama was creating clear distance between this speech and President Bush’s letter to then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon from April 2004.


Sec. Clinton, February 3, 2010:

“We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

Pres. Bush letter to PM Sharon, 2004:

“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

Road Map, 2003:

“The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit – calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbor living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement.”

Pres. Obama, remarks to UNGA, September 23, 2009:

“”¦[T]he goal is clear: Two states living side by side in peace and security — a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people.”

I’m just happy I don’t have to tell you what Mike Huckabee said, because he’s now irrelevant.

Also read Josh Rogin’s piece, with comments from former Rep. Robert Wexler, the president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.

It’s long past time that the American people cringed at Republicans taking the side of the Israeli president over the American president. Just maybe Pres. Obama is attempting to put it back in the Israeli-Palestinian court, while also flanking Netanyahu after he gave a hard-line speech to the Israeli Knesset last Monday.

Pres. Obama backing PM Netanyahu into a corner at home is also nothing but good news, especially since even the op-eds on Haaretz agrees with Pres. Obama.

Israel’s prime minister doesn’t have to agree to withdraw to the 1967 borders. Such a withdrawal is impossible. But he will have to agree to give the Palestinians land equivalent to the territory captured in 1967. Such an agreement is vital. Without accepting the principle of 1967, Netanyahu’s other principles will remain full of holes. The Palestinians will mock them and the world will reject them. They will end up the latest unimportant remarks by an unimportant prime minister who left no lasting mark. – Netanyahu must move forward and accept 1967 borders

What the Right is concerned with is having an election year talking point and a plan to drive into Obama with constituents, insisting he’s — to paraphrase Drudge — on the side of only the Palestinians, which is untrue, but their campaign isn’t predicated on facts. It lies in the status quo, which is a path to war.

Map via New York Times