Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Obama’s speech on Thursday saying, Those borders are not defensible and that the Palestinian state must not come at Israel’s expense.
As part of the Middle East peace deal, United States President Barack Obama in his speech on Thursday backed a key demand of the Palestinians on the borders of a future state. Obama, in his address called for a demilitarized Palestinian state along the 1967 lines agreed upon land swaps.
A day before the scheduled meeting in Washington, US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had conflicting positions for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The Palestinians, and not only the US, must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu appreciates Obama’s “commitment to peace” but he “expects to hear from President Obama a reconfirmation of commitments to Israel from 2004 that received wide support in both houses of Congress.”
This was a letter from former US president George Bush to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon that did not ask Israel to return to the 1967 lines. It also acknowledged new realities on the ground and said, a full and complete return to the 1967 borders would be unrealistic.
Although Obama stressed that the United States can’t impose a solution, “what America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows – a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.”
He further added that Palestinians should have “a sovereign, non-militarized state” and that terrorism and weapons smuggling must stop. Obama called for a “full and phased withdrawal” of the IDF to be coordinated with the Palestinians during a transition period with a clear duration and demonstrated security effectiveness.
“These principles provide a foundation for negotiations,” Obama said. “Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met.”
Though the US has not been engaged in active diplomacy since the Palestinians left the talks last year, this could signal an effort to raise the profile of US involvement in the issue.
He warned Palestinians that “efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure” and that they would “never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.”
Palestine Authority Hopeful
PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat said Palestine Authority was hoping the Israeli government would fulfill its obligations “to give the peace process the chance it deserves,” as reported in the Jerusalem Post.
“President Abbas affirms his appreciation for President Obama’s declaration regarding people’s right to self-determination, freedom and dignity, as well as ensuring freedom of worship,” Erekat added.
Whereas, Hamas, has accused President Obama of “deception” and bias towards the state of Israel and the US policies deny Palestinian rights.