The Middle East peace process is on life support and President Barack Obama’s recent comments that Israel's pre-1967 borders should be the starting point for peace talks have only made matters worse, intelligence analyst Fred Fleitz tells Newsmax.TV.
Fleitz, who spent 25 years working with the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, was commenting on the remarkable give and take that took place between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past week.
The debate began with Obama’s speech on the Mideast last week and continued with Netanyahu’s joint meeting with the president, dueling speeches from the two leaders at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and then Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress.
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“The peace process is in serious trouble,” Fleitz said. “I think the end result of what we saw after the last few days, the peace process was already in bad shape, the president made a speech that outraged Prime Minister Netanyahu and forced him to basically call the president out during the joint appearance at the White House, then his speech yesterday at AIPAC and today. Frankly a lot is taking place in public that should probably be taking place in private negotiations and I think that probably hasn’t advanced a process that already was in serious trouble.”
The Newsmax political analyst had high praise for Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, calling it “Reaganesque” and characterizing it as an opportunity for the prime minister to get in the last word on the 1967 border dispute.
In his speech, Netanyahu promised to make “painful compromises” with the Palestinians but again flatly rejected the “indefensible” borders that existed before the 1967 Mideast war. He also reiterated Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinians to return to Israel.
The speech was well-received by members of Congress, who interrupted Netanyahu more than two-dozen times with standing ovations.
Even before the two speeches, the peace process was struggling.
“When the president made that speech the Middle East peace process was already essentially dead,” Fleitz said. “His Middle East peace envoy, George Mitchell, had not been to the region since last December, Hamas and Fatah, the two Palestinian authority factions, formed an agreement without telling the United States, which they did secretly with Egypt and then the president sprung this agreement out of nowhere. I frankly don’t know why this came about but it does seem the president has backtracked from this agreement since he made his statement.”
Fleitz said the president’s remarks put congressional Democrats in a difficult position. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to extricate them with his own comments at AIPAC when he said “no one should set premature parameters” on borders.
Fleitz noted that Netanyahu spent time in his speech discussing the threat posed by Iran, which he called a “ferocious and unforgiving tyranny,” adding that “time is running out, the hinge of history may soon turn, for the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.”
Fleitz said Netanyahu intent was to “try to focus on real-term threats and something that needs to be dealt with right now.” He added that the prime minister’s praise of Obama for pushing for United Nations sanctions against Iran “was a nice thing to say but the truth is that the president and this administration were dragged kicking and screaming to approving sanctions against Iran in the United Nations and Congress.”
“It seems this administration tried to come in as the anti-Bush and to try to resolve all the world’s problems through negotiations and not confronting states like North Korea and Iran and state sponsors of terror,” he said. “I’m hopeful that there’s a trend that is wearing off.”
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