Sources say Obama already has pledged to discuss land for peace
TEL AVIV – The White House has released what it says is a map of Israel. The only problem is that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights are missing.
An Obama administration video highlighting the president’s plans for his Mideast trip depicts Jerusalem, the Golan and the West Bank – also known as Judea and Samaria – as non-Israeli territory.
The Washington Free Beacon, which first reported the discrepancies, noted the video shows the Golan Heights as part of Syria; Jerusalem is depicted as part of the West Bank; and northern Israel is shown as part of Lebanon.
WND reported in August 2012 when the White House refused to name the capital of Israel – not once, but twice – as the two most senior White House correspondents cornered Obama’s press secretary, doggedly questioning him on whether the Obama administration considered Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to be the capital of the Jewish state.
The itinerary on the White House website further implies that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital or even part of Israel, reported the Free Beacon. Obama’s schedule lists two stops in “Tel Aviv, Israel” and one in “Amman, Jordan,” while his trip to Israel’s capital city is identified as taking place only in “Jerusalem.”
The itinerary is consistent with information first released by WND disclosing Obama’s planned visit already has secured Israeli and Palestinian pledges to restart so-called land-for-peace talks that aim to see Israel relinquish the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, according to informed Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials.
The officials disclosed the Obama administration told both sides the talks would be aimed at creating a Palestinian state in what is known as the 1967 borders, meaning an Israeli retreat from some of the strategic West Bank and possibly some eastern sections of Jerusalem.
According to the informed officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed that once the talks begin, there will be a silent, undeclared freeze on all Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem with the exception of what are known as main blocs – Maale Adumin, Ariel and Gush Etzion.
The officials said the White House was adamant that Israeli talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas begin regardless of the position of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Still, the U.S. is supporting Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey in back-door efforts to broker a national unity deal between Abbas and Hamas during the same time period that the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are set to take place, the officials said.
There is already close coordination between the White House and members of Netanyahu’s government coalition, who are known to be sympathetic to creating a Palestinian state, primarily former opposition leader Tzipi Livni.
Further, WND was told that Livni and former Minister Haim Ramon are currently coordinating the renewal of talks with the PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat.
Regarding Jerusalem, the informed Israeli and Palestinian officials said the White House has been nonspecific other than to champion talks based on what is known as the Clinton parameters.
The formula, pushed by President Bill Clinton in the Camp David talks in 2000, called for Jewish areas of Jerusalem to remain Israeli while the Palestinians get sovereignty over neighborhoods that are largely Arab.
WND previously reported Palestinians are building illegally in Jewish-owned areas of Jerusalem, creating Arab majorities in certain neighborhoods.
Screen shot of Israel map shown in White House video
The informed officials, meanwhile, said the White House expects the issue of Jerusalem to be a key impediment to reaching a deal and is therefore discussing the formation of an international committee to help smooth the process.
Previous Israeli-Palestinian talks saw the U.S. naming an envoy meant to broker between the two sides. According to the officials speaking to WND, the White House has expressed interest in naming an envoy but has doubts about whether such a point man will be successful.