I guess I'm a little gobsmacked at the way this controversy is being presented, because I've been under the impression, going back to the Clinton era, that every American negotiator -- including various secretaries of state -- understood that the ultimate goal of Middle East peace negotiations was to achieve a Palestinian state on nearly all of the West Bank. Excluded from this Palestinian state -- a demilitarized Palestinian state, as President Obama affirmed in his speech -- would be the major settlement blocs, the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and quite a few square miles of West Bank land that abut Israel's narrow waist. Various negotiators have told me that this was the obvious target. So all that President Obama did earlier today is codify reality, a codification his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, began a year and a half ago. So why are we treating this moment as a cataclysm?
Here's Yossi Verter on the general subject:
The Israeli-Palestinian arrangement Obama outlined consisted of self-evident components. Any child knows this is what the arrangement would be, with some nuances. Obama rewarded Bibi with two points: his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state - i.e. the end of the conflict - and his unequivocal statement against a unilateral UN declaration of Palestinian statehood in September.