Obama, Netanyahu Outline Peace Objectives
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In US President Barack Obama’s Middle East address, he suggested that a peace agreement should be based upon pre-1967 borders with “agreed upon land swaps”. He also stressed that the Palestinians should have their own sovereign, non-militarized state, and that Israel should be able to defend itself against threats.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to President Obama’s speech, stating that while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines. He noted that the 1967 lines left Israel just nine miles wide at its narrowest point, which is therefore indefensible. He also stressed that it is important to know that the Palestinians’ demand for a “right of return” law is not feasible and Israel will not agree to it, the Palestinians need to be aware of this.
The two leaders agreed on the inability to negotiate with Hamas, a terror organization that refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
Following President Obama’s address, MK Danny Danon said that “Barack Hussein Obama adopted Yasser Arafat’s staged plan for Israel’s destruction, and he is trying to force it on our prime minister”.
Likud Environment Minister Gilad Erdan also responded, saying “once they have everything from the start, they have no reason to make any concessions.”
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar echoed Erdan’s sentiments, “it is still wrong to predetermine the result of the core issues’ negotiation, which the borders are part of”.
During President Obama’s speech to the American Jewish organization AIPAC, he clarified that the land swaps will be based on “new demographic realities on the ground”, signaling that Israel should be able to keep some settlements in Judea and Samaria. President Obama did not address the important issue of Palestinian refugees demanding a right of return to Israel.
MK Danny Danon responded to President Obama’s AIPAC speech, by saying that “Obama must understand that Israel will not pay the price for his tuition as he gets caught up to speed on the essence of the conflict. Obama is zigzagging in accordance with whatever position will give him more votes while justifying his Nobel Peace Prize. We must stand strong in order to ensure that this will not be on account of the state of Israel.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed AIPAC as well, stating “it’s time to stop blaming Israel for all the region’s problems.” The Prime Minister also reiterated that any agreement “must leave Israel with security, and therefore Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines”.
Following his address at AIPAC, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered an eloquent defense of the Jewish people’s historic ties to Israel at the Joint Session of Congress where he maintained,
“President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people — and I told you, it wasn’t easy for me — I stood before my people and I said, “I will accept a Palestinian state.” It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, “I will accept a Jewish state.”