Chomsky: What Obama Didn't Say in His Cairo Address Speaks Volumes About His Mideast Policy
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It is worth remembering that there has been one break in U.S.-Israeli rejectionism. President Clinton recognized that the terms he had offered at the failed 2000 Camp David meetings were not acceptable to any Palestinians, and in December, proposed his "parameters," vague but more forthcoming. He then announced that both sides had accepted the parameters, although both had reservations.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Taba, Egypt, to iron out the differences, and made considerable progress. A full resolution could have been reached in a few more days, they announced in their final joint press conference. But Israel called off the negotiations prematurely, and they have not been formally resumed. The single exception indicates that if an American president is willing to tolerate a meaningful diplomatic settlement, it can very likely be reached.
It is also worth remembering that the George W. Bush administration went a bit beyond words in objecting to illegal Israeli settlement projects, namely, by withholding U.S. economic support for them. In contrast, Obama administration officials stated that such measures are "not under discussion," and that any pressures on Israel to conform to the Road Map will be "largely symbolic," the New York Times reported (Helene Cooper, June 1).
There is more to say, but it does not relieve the grim picture that Obama has been painting, with a few extra touches in his widely heralded address to the Muslim World in Cairo on June 4.