Rep. Gohmert: Palestinians Are "Occupying" The West Bank, Obama Wants To "Cut Israel Up"
Speaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) made the charge that the Palestinians are 'occupiers' in the West Bank. Gohmert's claim came days after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a joint meeting of Congress that Israeli settlers are not foreign occupiers in "Judea and Samaria," a term right-wing Israelis use to make a biblical claim to what is internationally known as the West Bank.
During the floor speech, Gohmert also mischaracterized Obama's call for an agreement based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps, claiming that any suggestion of a contiguous Palestinian state necessarily means that either Israel's land will be split in two or that all of southern Israel is given to Palestinians. According to Gohmert, Obama's proposed framework would also require Israel to give up most of its northern territory, reducing the country to a small coastal strip.
GOHMERT: Well, Palestinians have the Gaza Strip and they are occupying the West Bank. For that to be contiguous, only one of two things that could happen. And that is, if you cut Israel up or you give all of this area to the Palestinians, that are now completely in signed agreement with a terrorist group, Hamas. You give all of this for the use of a terrorist group, Hamas. And so then, that would fulfill the president's desire, as he had time to massage it and think about it, giving all of the this land to Hamas, Palestinians, all of this area up here. Well, but wait a minute. He said that, after he described the borders that we would demand for the Palestinians, he said they would have a border with Egypt and with Jordan and that Israel would have permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. Well, he described the borders he wanted for the Palestinians. So his massaged words, it seems, would mean that for Israel to only have borders with the Palestinians, you'd also have to give the Palestinians up here up to Lebanon so that you have this little area, this small strip left, for Israel. Because that's what the president said.
The issue of a contiguous state is not new. President George W. Bush called for a "viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent" Palestinian state. (In the same speech, Bush stated that "any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949.") Serious proposals endorsing a contiguous Palestine envision Gaza and the West Bank being connected via an underground or overland superhighway.
Moreover, Gohmert is so consumed by his own devilish interpretation of the president's recommendation that he contradicts himself within the course of a few sentences. The president called for a Palestinian state that had borders with Egypt, Israel and Jordan. A border with Lebanon is not part of the proposal, by Gohmert's own admission.
This is hardly the first time Gohmert has displayed his ignorance of the Middle East. On several occasions, for instance, he's denounced nonexistent "illegal Palestinian settlements," and blamed the Obama administration for supporting their expansion. In fact, it is illegal Israeli settlements that are expanding, which successive U.S. administrations have viewed as an impediment to peace.