Benjamin Netanyahu

May 20, 2011 by staff 

Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin Netanyahu, In front of the media gathered in the Oval Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly rejected Friday calls from President Obama a day earlier that Israel uses its pre-1967 borders as a basis for negotiation for a peace agreement with the Palestinians. “While Israel is willing to make generous concessions for peace, can not return to 1967 borders,” said Netanyahu, speaking to Obama instead of talking to reporters and photographers gathered. “These lines are indefensible. To ensure peace, the Palestinians have to accept some realities.” Obama shrugged off the controversy that had arisen during a major speech on Thursday in the Middle East. The president said publicly that he supports a Palestinian state based on borders before the Six Day War in which Israel took control of East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza – with the two negotiating parties “mutual agreement” land swaps to adjust the 1967 lines.

“Obviously, there are some differences between us in precise formulations and the language,” Obama said, without referring directly to the boundary question. “That’s going to happen between friends.”

Obama supported a key demand of a Palestinian state is the latest complication in what has been a tense relationship with the Israeli leader. The Israelis are concerned that the border issue by holding public as a condition for peace talks, Obama has removed a negotiation point of any possible negotiations.

The two leaders met at the White House for 90 minutes, about twice as long as the administration said officlals was scheduled for the meeting. Then the men tried to reaffirm the strength of the bilateral alliance.

“What we are in complete agreement is that true peace can only occur if the final resolution allows Israel to defend against threats, and that Israel’s security will remain central to U.S. assessments of any future agreement of peace, “said Obama. He added that the Palestinians “will have to answer some tough questions” about the extremist organization Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, playing a key role in leadership.

, Netanyahu said, “We may have differences here and there, but I think there is a general direction that we want to work together to achieve real peace, genuine between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.”

Although Mr. Obama called the meeting “very constructive and productive,” there was no sign that the two men resolved any of the problems blocking the way to restart negotiations with the Palestinians. White House spokesman Jay Carney said later that the two leaders pledged to “work together” and that the administration’s commitment to Israel’s security is “unwavering.” The incident comes just a week after the administration’s special envoy for the Middle East, former Sen. George Mitchell, announced his resignation.

Critics in Congress accused the administration of undercutting Israel on the border issue, but Mr. Carneiro said the president’s statement has been the consistent U.S. position, even if the former leaders of U.S. said the matter had not so explicitly.

“The president believes it is important to speak truths that are obvious to all parties,” he said.

The National Jewish Democratic Council issued a statement saying it was “ridiculous” to suggest Obama’s statement was different from the policies of President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The group said the three administrations have discussed “mutally swap agreement” of the territory within the framework of the negotiations.

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