President Obama's speech makes clear that whether or not Palestinians enjoy freedom is a choice for Israelis to make. He offers that they should do that based on either their empathy for Palestinians, and if not, for strategic and self-interested reasons.
Only you can determine what kind of democracy you will have. But remember that as you make these decisions, you will define not simply the future of your relationship with the Palestinians – you will define the future of Israel as well. As Ariel Sharon said, “It is impossible to have a Jewish, democratic state and at the same time to control all of Eretz Israel. If we insist on fulfilling the dream in its entirety, we are liable to lose it all.” Or, from a different perspective, think of what David Grossman said shortly after losing his son, as he described the necessity of peace – “a peace of no choice” he said, “must be approached with the same determination and creativity as one approaches a war of no choice.
Rather than reaffirm the equality and dignity of both peoples, President Obama signals that Palestinian freedom is secondary to Israeli concerns and contingent upon their preferences.
This is quite a disappointing message when Israel's behavior for the past two decades has destroyed the possibility of the two-state solution. Due to a lack of any accountability to human rights norms and international law, in the past two decades of the Oslo Peace Process:
Moving beyond this devastating reality requires the US to step up its role as global superpower and Israel's most significant ally by applying pressure upon it to conform with international law and human rights norms. Its inability and unwillingness to do so thus far signals to the Palestinians as well as to the international community, that US-brokered bilateral negotiations are a train heading straight to deeper Apartheid.