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Obama’s two-state solution for Israel and Palestine raises eyebrows

by Jorge Hernandez on May 20, 2011

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he endorsed a two-state solution for Israel, encouraging the 1967 border agreement that has long been touted as a viable solution to the constant unrest in the region. Today, he heads to Europe to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is reported to be dismayed by Obama's proclamation.

Netanyahu said that he "expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of American commitments made to Israel in 2004 which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress," according to The New York Times. This hearkens back to a letter sent by President Bush that said that it was unrealistic to try and support the 1967 borders.

While Obama is not necessarily advocating for a direct return to the lines, he does seem to be pushing for the idea that other land should be given to Palestinian in compensation for any territory beyond the borders that Israel will not disown.

"This is much tougher for Israel to swallow, and definitely this is a point which Netanyahu, if he didn’t intend to address in his trip, is now being forced to do so," Palestinian political scientist Khalil Shikaki told The Times. "And if he doesn't, he will find himself further isolated."

The 1967 borders correspond to one of the key demands that Palestinians have said would need to be fulfilled for peace in the region.

Some, such as Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livini, applauded Obama's announcement.

"An American president that supports a two-state solution represents the Israeli interest and is not anti-Israeli," Livni told CNN. "President Obama's call to start negotiations represents Israel's interests."

Other critics, such as Sean Hannity, have noted that Hamas just recently commemorated Israel's anniversary by rushing the borders of the country, which seems to indicate that some Palestinians won't support peace, even if the agreement is passed. 

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