Netanyahu gave Obama a schooling in his remarks today, some of which people never thought he would need to utter.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he was prepared to make compromises to peace but he rejected President Barack Obama’s proposal that Israel return to its 1967 borders.
Obama and Netanyahu met at the White House a day after the U.S. president endorsed a longstanding Palestinian demand on the borders for their future state.
In remarks to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said he had reiterated the principles he had laid out on Thursday.
Both men acknowledged differences between their positions.
Obama said the United States and Israel had an extraordinary bond. Netanyahu said he and Obama could still work together for peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday explicitly rejected President Obama’s call for a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, after the two leaders met privately in the Oval Office.
Sitting beside Obama, the visiting prime minister said he values the president’s efforts to advance the peace process, but that the 1967 borders are untenable.
“For there to be peace, the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities. … (Israel) cannot go back to the 1967 lines,” Netanyahu said. “We can’t go back to those indefensible lines. … I discussed this with the president.”
Obama, speaking to reporters, did not mention his border demand but stood by his speech Thursday. Obama said Friday that differences remain between the United States and Israel over the Middle East peace process, but that their relationship is “sound and will continue.”
The good news for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: President Obama’s surprising embrace of the Palestinian demand that Israel return to its borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War gives Netanyahu additional political security at home. With Obama siding with the Palestinians on this key point, Netanyahu’s hard-line stance will be vindicated.
now it is Netanyahu’s turn to cause Obama some political heartache. The more distraught Netanyahu and his Likud Party are about Obama’s call for Israeli concessions, the more likely key Jewish donors will be to withhold the contributions Obama is now in a desperate dash to raise.
Obama will head to the American-Israel Political Action Committee’s annual convention on Sunday to restate his pitch and appeal again to Jewish donors, but his decision to try to push Netanyahu will mean a pretty hostile reception for the president.
Reuters: Washington does not understand the reality
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly told President Barack Obama on Friday his vision for the borders of a future Palestinian state would leave the Jewish state with an “indefensible” frontier.
Netanyahu’s remarks after the White House talks underscored how a new U.S. push for Middle East peace had opened one of the deepest divides in years in relations between the United States and close ally Israel.
“Peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle East reality,” an unsmiling Netanyahu told Obama in the Oval Office.
Netanyahu told Obama that Israel was willing to make compromises for peace but flatly rejected the idea of going back to 1967 borders, which he described as “indefensible.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Obama said he reiterated the peace “principles” he laid out on Thursday in policy speech on Middle East political upheaval.
Obama embraced a long-standing Palestinian demand that the state they seek in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip should largely be drawn along lines that existed before the 1967 war in which Israel captured those territories and East Jerusalem.
The brewing crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations dimmed even further the prospect for resuming peace talks that collapsed late last year when Palestinians walked away in a dispute over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.
The right-wing Israeli leader has had strained relations with Obama in the past, and their latest meeting seemed unlikely to improve their personal chemistry.
“There is a feeling that Washington does not understand the reality, doesn’t understand what we face,” an official on board the plane taking Netanyahu to Washington told reporters.
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