Jacob Heilbrunn

Obama and Jerusalem

So President Obama called for a return to Israel's 1967 borders. I suppose he can say that he is just reiterating American policy. But it was apparently done over the objections of Dennis Ross. And Hillary Clinton? Is this a new instance of Powerism—Samantha Power is a longstanding critic of Israel and its conduct in the West Bank.

This Obama doctrine is unlikely to win Obama much. The Wall Street Journal has an item buried today that announces that Israel is going to add another 1,600 units in East Jerusalem. Yair Gabbai, member of the Interior Ministry, says it sends a clear message. Yes, it does.

The occupation of the West Bank has brought Israel little other than woe. It began under the pretense of defensive settlements. Today defending the defensive settlements has become a rationale for remaining in the West Bank.

Obama comes too late on the scene to accomplish much. The Palestinians will likely remain recalcitrant, figuring time, in the form of population fecundity, is on their side. Meanwhile, in Israel calls for outright annexation, moored recently in the New York Times, will increase.