Israel-Palestine Poll: Commentator readers are with Netanyahu
Our latest poll on the Netanyahu-Obama sparring shows that the majority of our readers feel strongly in favour of Bibi.
Over the past few weeks, one of our polls asked the question, "Who's right in the latest Israel-Palestine sparring?" This of course was in reference to the AIPAC-week tête à tête between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Here's how it went down, to remind you:
Thursday, May 19 - Obama made 'the speech' mentioning 1967 lines and land swaps. Innocuous as he thought it may have been, the crowd warming up for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference that weekend was in no mood for the old '67 trick. He soon found himself in at the deep end, which to be fair, he seemed to relish.
In Netanyahu's subsequent rebuke he insisted that turning the clock back by 44 years simply wasn't on and would leave Israel "indefensible". Obama had based his speech on something other than reality. A fair point, perhaps made under less than optimal conditions. Obama initially came across as the 'radical' looking to shake things up. But it wasn't to last.
Sunday, May 22 - In his speech to AIPAC, Obama explained, albeit in a rather condescending manner, exactly what he had meant by the 1967 lines. The audience was respectful but cool. It wasn't that they didn't get it, as Obama seemed to think. They just didn't agree. Click here for the full speech.
Monday, May 23 - Netanyahu addresses AIPAC in what seemed like a warm-up to his speech to the US Congress. As Obama jetted off to Britain to make nice with the Queen, Netanyahu was making it crystal clear to the 11,000 strong audience that it was not Israel that was the roadblock in the peace process. It was the failure of Palestinian representatives to engage with Israel or even recognise its existence as a Jewish state. Even Obama's closest ally, Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, announced, "No one should set premature parameters about borders, about building or about anything else."
Tuesday, May 24 - The barnstormer. Netanyahu addressed the US Congress to more than two dozen standing ovations. “I stood before my people and said that I will accept a Palestinian state; it’s time for President Abbas to stand up before his people and say, "‘I will accept a Jewish state’”
So it was against this background that we asked our readers the question, "Who's right in the latest Israel-Palestine sparring?" The response in favour of Netanyahu was overwhelming. Of 320 people that voted, 76% insisted that Bibi was correct, 7% said Obama was in the right, and 6% said both were right, in their own way. Another 6% insisted that neither of the leaders were correct in their assertions, with just 4% claiming they didn't yet know. Call it a landslide.
Whether this tells you about the steadfast pro-Israel ideals of our audience, or whether it speaks to a broader sense that people are beginning to see that Netanyahu isn't just blocking the process for the sake of it is difficult to discern from a straw poll of this kind.
Our view is that the '67 lines are an anachronism and a diversion. The situation is vastly different now, and until the Palestinian leadership can come to the table recognising Israel, its right to exist as a Jewish state, and its corresponding right to defend itself as such, a "peace agreement" will remain nothing more than a mirage under the Middle Eastern sun.
The latest 'deal' between Fatah and Hamas is a huge step backwards, though it is telling that in Europe at least Mahmoud Abbas has paid no price for it in the court of public opinion. Plus ca change..
The fact is that Hamas still, has a charter which insists on the eradication of Israel and the murder of Jews. Hamas is not a partner for peace and all fair minded observers can see that.
Until Fatah gets out of bed with this appalling, racist, terrorist organisation the Palestinian government should not be afforded the legitimacy of negotiations on behalf of the Palestinian people.
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