from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Where Is the Knesset?

May 22, 2011

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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.

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