Israel should return to its 1967 borders, President Obama said today during remarks at the State Department.
“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states,” Obama said. “The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”
Added Obama: “Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Critics, however, disagree.
“President Obama’s comments demonstrate a lack of understanding or appreciation for our longstanding alliance with Israel,” U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement. “In a speech where the president is attempting to show America’s support for peace and democratic principles in the Middle East, he’s directly undermining the strongest democracy in the region and posing a scenario that could undermine the safety and security of our ally.
“He failed to apply pressure on the Palestinian Authority either by cutting off funding or asking for recognition of Israel’s right to exist,” Price said. “…Continuing to undermine our alliance with Israel will do nothing to advance the cause of peace in the region.”