Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Where Is the Knesset?

by Elliott Abrams
May 22, 2011

In what country is the Knesset? And in what country is the Western Wall of the ancient Temple?

These questions arise when the State Department announces that the Deputy Secretary is visiting “Israel, Jerusalem, and the West Bank.” As James Steinberg, the Deputy Secretary, presumably visited Israeli officials in their offices in West Jerusalem, which was part of Israel before the 1967 war, one wonders what is meant by saying he went  to Israel and Jerusalem.

I discuss these issues, and the entire question of the “1967 lines,” in an article in The Weekly Standard. It is a common error to believe that adjustments to the “1967 lines,” which are actually the 1949 armistice lines, are needed due to Israeli settlement activity since 1967. In fact, it was assumed right after that war that Israel’s borders would change. That has been the American position for a long time: President Reagan said in September 1982 that “In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.”

President Obama’s Middle East speech last week left it uncertain whether he was “about to ask Israel to live that way again.” We will know more after his speech today, Sunday, to AIPAC.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by Linda

    we continue to support that the people of Gaza be subjected to living in slums.

    we continue to ignore the violent and hateful rhetoric that comes from the enormous Israeli military power toward a week and poor palestinian opposition.

    we continue to support brutality and disrespect that evicts people from their homes for demolition.

    we continue to support the systematic and structural prevention of economic and social development of a discontiguous palestinian state.

    we continue to support the building of Jewish settlements on the land of demolished homes which is against international law.

    we continue to miscategorize Israel as a Democratic state which abuses the human rights of its own people as well as palestinians and unarmed activists in the international community; propogates manipulative politics; has shady police and defense institutions which have been exposed time and time again.

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    The “Palestinian State” is “discontiguous” because they eventually plan to have “the whole enchiilada” .

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