In ‘Washington Post’ op-ed former White House chief of staff reassures US Jews of president’s steadfast support in Israel
WASHINGTON – Former White House chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel published an op-ed in the Washington Post attempting to reassure US Jews of President Barack Obama’s support of Israel.
In the opinion piece, Emanuel stressed that the president’s call for Israeli-Palestinian talks based on the 1967 borders referred to them as a mere starting point – not the end result.
Obama’s political standing among US Jews has suffered a blow in wake of his recent Middle East policy speech.
“As an American and the son of an Israeli immigrant, I have a deep, abiding commitment to the survival, security and success of the state of Israel,” Emanuel says in the op-ed.
“President Obama… understands that the shifting sands of demography in that volatile region are working against the two-state solution needed to end generations of bloodshed… Israel’s survival as a Jewish, democratic state is at stake because of many factors, including uncertainty brought by the Arab Spring, growth in the Palestinian population, unilateral efforts to create a recognized state of Palestine and technological advances in weaponry.
“That is why, from his first days in office, the president has invested so much in encouraging meaningful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” he continued.
“(Obama’s) goal has been one shared by a succession of Israeli and American leaders: two nations, the Jewish state of Israel and Palestine for the Palestinian people, living side by side, in peace and security.”
Obama’s speech, Emanuel asserted, was meant to “reaffirm his strong commitment to Israel’s safety, security and prosperity. He said the US relationship with Israel is unshakable. He said that the conflict cannot be resolved through unilateral actions or a UN vote establishing a Palestinian state but only through negotiations between the parties.”
As for the statement on border that evoked a maelstrom of criticism, Emanuel said that the 1967 concept was “a concept that has been the basis of every serious attempt at resolution since the negotiations President Bill Clinton held at Camp David in 2000.
“That statement does not mean a return to 1967 borders. No workable solution envisions that. Land swaps offer the flexibility necessary to ensure secure and defensible borders and address the issue of settlements.”
The US president also made another important stance clear, the former White House chief stressed: “He said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a Palestinian Authority that embraces Hamas, a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction, and he reaffirmed his commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge.”