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Netanyahu Objects To Obama's Talk Of A Return To '67 Borders

"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday [that] Israel would object to any withdrawal to 'indefensible' borders," Israel's Jerusalem Postreports.

The newspaper adds that "in a statement after President Barack Obama's speech outlining Middle East strategy, Netanyahu said before heading to Washington [to see Obama on Friday] that 'the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel's existence.' "

It headlines its story with this: "Netanyahu Rejects Complete Pullback To 1967 Borders."

As we reported earlier when we live-blogged the president's speech, the president said that the U.S. believes "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

Those would be the borders that existed before the Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The president's clause about "mutually agreed swaps," however, leaves open some room for deviations from those borders — if Israel and the Palestinians can reach such agreements.

The president also said:

-- "The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine."

-- "The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state."

-- "Every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -– by itself -– against any threat."

-- "Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met."

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, told All Things Considered host Michele Norris this afternoon that "today you heard something very concrete and unprecedented. And that was the president saying that from the U.S. point of view, negotiations should begin on the basis of two core principles — an Israel that is able to provide security for itself, by itself, and a Palestinian state to be created on the basis of the 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps.

"That is [a] vitally important and ground-breaking U.S. policy statement. The aim is to bring the parties together on that basis as soon as possible."

More from Michele's conversation with the ambassador will be on today's All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

[Note: NPR follows Associated Press style on the spelling of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's name. The Jerusalem Post uses a different spelling.]

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.