- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Netanyahu rebuffs Obama on Mideast plan
Question of the Day
In front of the assembled media in the Oval Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday bluntly rejected President Obama's call a day earlier for Israel to use its pre-1967 borders as the negotiating baseline for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
"While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines," Mr. Netanyahu said, addressing Mr. Obama rather than speaking to the assembled reporters and photographers. "These lines are indefensible. For there to be peace, the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities."
Mr. Obama downplayed their dispute, which he had sparked during a major speech Thursday on the Middle East. The president stated publicly that he supports a Palestinian state based on boundaries before the Six-Day War in which Israel took control of east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza — with the two sides negotiating "mutually agreed" land swaps to adjust the 1967 lines.
"Obviously there are some differences between us in the precise formulations and language," Mr. Obama said, without referring directly to the boundary issue. "That's going to happen between friends."
Mr. Obama's endorsement of a key demand of Palestinian statehood was the latest complication in what has been a tense relationship with the Israeli leader. Israelis are concerned that by stating the border issue publicly as a condition of peace talks, Mr. Obama has removed a bargaining point from any eventual negotiations.
The two leaders met in the White House for 90 minutes, about twice as long as administration officlals said was scheduled for the meeting. Afterward, both men did try to reaffirm the strength of the bilateral alliance.
"What we are in complete accord about is that a true peace can only occur if the ultimate resolution allows Israel to defend itself against threats, and that Israel's security will remain paramount in U.S. evaluations of any prospective peace deal," Mr. Obama said. He added that Palestinians "are going to have to answer some difficult questions" about the extremist Hamas organization, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, playing a key role in their leadership.
Said Mr. Netanyahu, "We may have differences here and there, but I think there's an overall direction that we wish to work together to pursue a real, genuine peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors."
Although Mr. Obama called their meeting "extremely constructive and productive," there was no sign that the two men resolved any of the issues blocking the way to restarting negotiations with the Palestinians. White House spokesman Jay Carney said later that the two leaders are "committed to working together" and that the administration's commitment to Israel's security is "unshakable." The episode comes just a week after the administration's special envoy to 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. Carney contended that the president's statement has been the consistent U.S. position, even if previous U.S. leaders had not stated the matter so explicitly.
"The president believes it's important to speak truths that have been evident to all parties," he said.
The National Jewish Democratic Council issued a statement saying it was "laughable" to suggest Mr. Obama's pronouncement was any different from the policies of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The group said all three administrations have discussed "mutally agreed swaps" of territory as part of any negotiations.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Calling prison term disparities unfair, Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Fake signer near Obama at Mandela ceremony once charged with murder, rape
- Obama backs mayors' call for more federal money, higher wage
- Obama and family holiday in Hawaii — again
- White House denies 'highly irresponsible' Iran spy story
Latest Blog Entries
- White House condemns execution of uncle of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
- Obamas to observe moment of silence for Sandy Hook shooting victims
- Boehner formally invites Obama for State of the Union address
- White House downplays concerns over phony sign-language interpreter
- Joe Biden signs condolence book for Nelson Mandela at D.C. embassy
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Calling sentence disparities unfair, Obama pardons 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow