No budging as Obama, Netanyahu talk following president’s challenge to Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) – Indicating no progress toward peace, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat alongside President Barack Obama on Friday and declared that Israel would not withdraw to 1967 borders to help make way for an adjacent Palestinian state. Obama had called on Israel to be willing to do just that a day earlier.
The Israeli leader said he would make some concessions but Israel would not go back to the lines from decades earlier because they would be “indefensible.”
For his part, Obama said that there were differences of formulations and language but that such disputes are going to happen “between friends.”
The president never mentioned the 1967 borders as the two men talked with reporters. The leaders spoke after a lengthy meeting in the Oval Office, amid tense times.
Obama said in his speech on Thursday that the United States supports creation of a Palestinian state based on the border lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel forces occupied east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – along with mutually agreed-to land swaps that could accommodate existing Israeli settlements. The comment on 1967 borders drew angry criticism in Israel, and Netanyahu made clear after meeting with Obama that the idea was unacceptable.