Charles Krauthammer's Big Lie

May 27, 2011 9:54 am ET — MJ Rosenberg

This is going to be a short one. Although we still will be producing the longer essays, it is important to rebut the lies about U.S. Middle East policy quickly and more often. This is the first of what will no doubt be a long series of lie corrections. 

Here is Charles Krauthammer in his column in today's Washington Post. 

Writing about President Obama's speech on the Middle East, Krauthammer noted the president's statement that the Arab-Israeli conflict should be resolved along "the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

He then goes off:

Nothing new here, said Obama three days later [at AIPAC]. "By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different" from 1967.

It means nothing of the sort. "Mutually" means both parties have to agree. And if one side doesn't? Then, by definition, you're back to the 1967 lines.

This is a lie and Krauthammer knows it.

"Mutually agreed" means mutually agreed. If, in the course of negotiation, Israelis say "we want all the land" and Palestinians say "no, we want all the land," the negotiations collapse because there is no mutual agreement. 

But that is not what Krauthammer writes. He writes that if there is no agreement, the ultra-Palestinian position — full return to the '67 lines — goes into effect, as if that is the default position.

Of course not. Without "mutual agreement," the status quo remains in place. That is why Israel possesses all the territories now, because no mutual agreement has been reached. According to Krauthammer's formulation, the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem would be Palestinian by now.

This point applies to every single issue dividing the two sides: borders, Jerusalem, water rights, security arrangements, refugees, settlements, etc. 

If either side is unhappy with what the other side insists on, it walks out and the status quo obtains. Nothing can be imposed on Israel unless one believes that Israeli negotiators will sell out their own country.

President Obama said that any changes in the status quo have to be mutually agreed to. That could not be more clear, even to Krauthammer who chooses to simply lie.

For an amusing insight into Krauthammer, see this