Obama sets out vision for peace between Israelis and Palestinians
In the UK and international press today, all papers report that US President Barack Obama delivered a US Middle East foreign policy speech at the State Department yesterday. Several papers carry the full transcripts of the speech. The Times and the Telegraph note that President Obama said a future Israeli and Palestinian state should be accepted along the 1967 border including provisions for land swaps. The Financial Times and BBC Online report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to President Obama’s speech by calling 1967 borders ‘indefensible’ because major Israeli population centres lived beyond the border. In other news, Sky News Online and Reuters note that in his speech, US President Obama called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to lead his country towards democracy or step down. The Telegraph notes that Israel is bracing itself for further Palestinian protests as a campaign on Facebook gathered support calling for a mass march after the Muslim noon prayers on Friday.
In the Israeli press, all papers lead with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to US President Barack Obama’s Middle East foreign policy speech and his recommendations for an Israeli-Palestinian solution to the conflict. Haaretz and Ynetnews report that Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said President Obama’s speech was disappointing and did not propose anything new. The Jerusalem Post notes that PA President Mahmoud Abbas called an emergency meeting with PA leaders on Thursday and consulted with several Arab leaders following President Obama’s address yesterday evening. Haaretz reports that Palestinian documents reveal that the Palestinian Authority considered asking the United Nations to declare a Palestinian state in March 2009. Haaretz and Ynetnews note that The Interior Ministry’s district committee for construction and planning yesterday approved two plans to build housing units in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem.