Obama says Palestine must be based in 1967 borders listen05/19/11 wire reports including AP
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President Barack Obama is endorsing the Palestinians' demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. Israel's prime minister has rejected that, saying return to the borders before Israel occupied the Palestinian territories would spell disaster for the Jewish state.
Obama outlined U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa in a speech today.
"The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous State. As for security, every state has the right to self defense and Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism. To stop the infiltration of weapons and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign non-militarized State."
Until today, the U.S. position had been that the Palestinian goal of a state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, should be reconciled with Israel's desire for a secure Jewish state through negotiations.
Obamaâ€™s stand could set the stage for a tense meeting tomorrow when Netanyahu goes to the White House.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is quietly expanding its defense ties with a country not mentioned in his policy speech. There is a little-known project to develop an elite force to protect Saudi Arabiaâ€™s oil riches and future nuclear sites. The U.S. also is in discussions with Saudi Arabia to create a missile defense system with greater capability against the regional rival the Saudis fear most: Iran. And it is with Iran mainly in mind that the Saudis are pressing ahead with a historic $60 billion arms deal that will provide dozens of new U.S.-built F-15 combat aircraft.