Netanyahu and Obama
Photo: AFP
Barak: Say 'yes, but...'
Photo: AP

Quartet backs Obama's vision on peace

During meeting Quartet issues statement of 'strong support' for Obama's vision of peace, which according to speech include Israel's withdrawal to the 1967 borders, while Barak urges PM not to say nay to demands

WASHINGTON – As tensions rose between the leaders of the US and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Barack Obama at the White House Friday. The meeting began at 6:30 pm Israel's time and ended an hour and 40 minutes later, nearly an hour past schedule.


During the meeting the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators, from the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, voiced "strong support" for Obama's vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace.


"The Quartet agrees that moving forward on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a final resolution of the conflict through serious and substantive negotiations and mutual agreement on all core issues," the group said in a statement.


Also during the meeting, sources in the State Department criticized Netanyahu's response to Obama's speech, saying his demands for US commitment to Israel's security had been unnecessary as the president had made sure to mention this in his speech.


In addition, sources said, Obama had stressed that a withdrawal to the 1967 borders would be accompanied by mutually accepted exchanges of territory, which was nothing new to anyone involved in the negotiations and did not merit anger on Netanyahu's part.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the prime minister before the meeting that he should not say nay to Obama's demands, which according to Thursday's speech include Israel's withdrawal to the 1967 borders, but rather "yes, but...".


Barak said he believes that if Netanyahu rejects the US president's suggestions Israel will be seen as rejecting peace. Therefore the prime minister must make every effort not to go against the US, but rather to present Israel's side on the issues of settlement blocs, refugees, and security.


Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 05.20.11, 18:43
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