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Obama agenda: Summer of '67

The New York Times previews today’s Obama-Netanyahu meeting. “By all accounts, they do not trust each other. President Obama has told aides and allies that he does not believe that Mr. Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal. For his part, Mr. Netanyahu has complained that Mr. Obama has pushed Israel too far — a point driven home during a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday morning, just hours before Mr. Obama’s speech, during which the prime minister reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.”

“President Obama used his much-ballyhooed Mideast democracy speech Thursday to deliver an idea sure to go down poorly in Israel: make a peace deal creating a Palestinian state along the lines of 1967 pre-war borders,” the New York Daily News reports.

The New York Times: “While the 1967 borders have long been viewed as the foundation for a peace agreement, Mr. Obama’s formula of land swaps to compensate for disputed territory created a new benchmark for a diplomatic solution. Mr. Obama’s statement represented a subtle, but significant shift, in American policy.” 

The Boston Globe adds, “President Obama undermined the sensitive and delicate negotiations for Middle East peace with his outline for resumed talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the Republicans looking to unseat him charged yesterday.”

Yet lost in the coverage of the 1967 borders were these tough conditions put on the Palestinians. Said Obama: “Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel: How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question.”