Palestinians Call For Meeting Of Arab League After Obama Speech

by
redwarrior
Palestinian leaders are requesting a special meeting of the Arab League in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech calling for an approximate return to the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East War.

President Obama speaks on the Middle East & North Africa at the State Department, White House Photo,

(CNN) -- Palestinian leaders are requesting a special meeting of the Arab League in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech calling for an approximate return to the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East War.

The meeting of the Arab Peace Initiative will focus on Israel's rejection of the proposals raised by Obama as well as the Arab response to the address, Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa said Saturday, according to the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA.

It was not clear when the meeting will take place.

Obama said Thursday that the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state "should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."

His position largely agreed with the Palestinian negotiating stance on border issues in the staggering peace process, now stalled by disputes over Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the role of Hamas in the Palestinian leadership.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu firmly rejected the proposal, telling Obama that such a move to the 1967 border is impossible in light of current security concerns and demographic realities.

The two leaders pledged to work together, however, in the pursuit of a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

"Israel wants peace. I want peace," Netanyahu said while meeting with Obama at the White House. But "a peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality," he said.

Both men stressed that the presence of the militant group Hamas in a Palestinian government would be extremely problematic for future peace talks. The United States and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group.

In an interview with CNN to air Sunday, Moussa, who is running for president of Egypt, took issue with the Israeli position that it cannot negotiate with a combined Palestinian delegation because of Hamas.

"They (Israel) stated before that they cannot negotiate with (Palestinian leader Mahmoud) Abbas because he represents only part of the Palestinians. Now, after the conciliation, they cannot negotiate with them because part of them is, as they say, a terrorist organization.

"If they create a third position, you will find the same answer, no, we cannot negotiate with them until they do this and that," Moussa told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"I believe that the Israeli government, Prime Minister Netanyahu, will have to take into consideration that the Arab world is changing," Moussa said, referring to the recent uprisings in north Africa and the Middle East. "The order as they used to coexist with -- for the last several decades or several years will be no longer there. They have to seize this opportunity."

CNN