Responding to President Barack Obama's major Mideast policy speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel will not be withdrawing to the 1967 borders as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
The PM a statement issued by Netanyahu's office, said that Israel appreciates the president's commitment to peace, but added that he expects Obama to reaffirm US commitments to Israel from 2004. According to the pledges made by then-President George W. Bush, the Jewish state will not be asked to retreat to the 1967 borders and large settlement blocs will remain in Israel's hands.
"Israel appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace. Israel believes that for peace to endure between Israelis and Palestinians, the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viability of the one and only Jewish state.
That is why Prime Minister Netanyahu expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress.
Among other things, those commitments relate to Israel not having to withdraw to the 1967 lines which are both indefensible and which would leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond those lines.
Those commitments also ensure Israel’s well-being as a Jewish state by making clear that Palestinian refugees will settle in a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel.
Without a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem outside the borders of Israel, no territorial concession will bring peace.
Equally, the Palestinians, and not just the United States, must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and any peace agreement with them must end all claims against Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will make clear that the defense of Israel requires an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will also express his disappointment over the Palestinian Authority’s decision to embrace Hamas, a terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction, as well as over Mahmoud Abbas’s recently expressed views which grossly distort history and make clear that Abbas seeks a Palestinian state in order to continue the conflict with Israel rather than end it".