Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly rejected President Obama’s call Thursday for Israel to pull back to the borders that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War, calling those lines militarily “indefensible.”
Obama, in a sweeping address tackling the uprisings in the Middle East and the stalled peace process, stunned Washington and Jerusalem by endorsing Palestinians’ demand for their own state based on the pre-1967 borders. The break with longstanding U.S. policy appeared to immediately aggravate the Israelis, who want the borders of any future Palestinian state determined through negotiations.
In a statement released late Thursday, Netanyahu said such a withdrawal would jeopardize Israel’s security and leave major West Bank settlements outside Israeli borders.
Update: Was today’s speech a surprise to the Israelis, or not? I can’t see how it was, since the 1967 turn was in the Israeli press earlier in the week. If I knew about it enough to blog it from the other side of the world, surely Bibi knew about it. But I think Allah’s on to something in suggesting that the Israelis tried talking that point out of the speech, and are enraged that they couldn’t.