Obama’s (Self-imposed) Palestinian Problem
Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas is asking the United Nations for recognition as a state. This is clearly an embarrassment for Obama, as he is now forced to either accept a Palestinian state without any concessions toward peace, or deny the Palestinian statehood and try to explain his erudite rationale to the calm, rational, understanding, Arab Street.
So why is this self-inflicted? The key piece of evidence is what the Palestinian leader is asking for from Israel: a cessation of settlements in the Gaza strip and a return to the indefensible 1967 borders. I wonder where he could have gotten the idea that that was ever on the table?
Obama’s gaffe in May, that the talks should start “with the 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps” certainly emboldened Abbas to ask for what was never on the table. Add to that, Obama’s confused and counterproductive statements on settlements. It’s clear that Abbas is trying to leverage Obama’s gaffe-a-day administration into an unsustainable position for Israel. So congratulations, Obama, your speeches have finally had a real-life impact.