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June 26, 2022
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Israel PM defiant over Obama border proposals

Palestinians requesting a special meeting of the Arab League after the US president called for an approximate return to the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East War.

WASHINGTON – Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected US President Barack Obama’s call for peace with the Palestinians based on pre-1967 borders, according to the BBC. After tense talks at the White House, a defiant Netanyahu said Israel was prepared to compromise but there could be no peace “based on illusions”.

Obama, who formally adopted the principle on Thursday, admitted there were “differences” between the views. But he said such differences were possible “between friends”. In his speech to the state department on Thursday, Obama stated overtly for the first time that the peace talks should be based on a future Palestinian state within the borders in place before the 1967 Middle East War. “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognised borders are established for both states,” he said.

This proposal has been a key demand of the Palestinians in the negotiations. But speaking in the Oval Office after their meeting, Netanyahu flatly rejected this proposal, saying Israel wanted “a peace that will be genuine”. “We both agree that a peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality, and that the only peace that will endure is one that is based on reality, on unshakeable facts.”

Israel was “prepared to make generous compromises for peace”, he said, but could not go back to the 1967 borders “because these lines are indefensible”. He said the old borders did not take into account the “demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years”. Obama said there were obviously “some differences” in the “precise formulations and language” used by Israel and the US, but that this “happens between friends”. He did not bring up the matter of the borders in his joint conference with Netanyahu.

In the wake of Obama’s speech, Palestinian leaders re­quested a special meeting of the Arab League, according to the CNN. The meeting of the Arab Peace Initiative will focus on Israel’s rejection of the proposals raised by Obama as well as the Arab response to the address. It was not clear when the meeting will take place.

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