Sunday

25th Feb 2018

US takes EU line on Israel borders

  • Obama: 'Repression will fail, and tyrants will fall, and every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights' (Photo: whitehouse.gov)

US President Barack Obama has said future Israeli-Palestinian borders should be based on lines established before the 1967 war, bringing US policy closer in line with the EU position on the conflict.

Obama unveiled the new US policy at a speech in the state department in Washington on Thursday (19 May).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognised borders are established for both states," he said.

The US had in the past left open the question of final borders until the end-phase of Israeli-Palestinian talks, giving Israel the opportunity to keep on building settlements on occupied Palestinian land even as negotiations went on.

The new US position is in line with agreed EU policy, as formally stated by European foreign ministers in December. "The EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. This could include agreed territorial swaps," the EU side said.

Israeli negotiators believe that a priori support for 1967 borders - also a key Palestinian demand - removes incentives for the Palestinians to negotiate on a host of issues.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a written reaction on Thursday said: "The 1967 lines are both indefensible and would leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond those lines ... The defence of Israel requires an Israeli military presence along the Jordan river."

Israel also voiced concern that Obama said nothing on 'the right of return.'

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians want to take back land lost since the 1940s in what is today Israel in a development that would pose existential questions for the country as a 'Jewish state.'

On the pro-Israeli side, Obama indicated the US will work against Palestinian plans to seek full UN recognition of its statehood later this year.

"Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state," the US leader said. Palestinian diplomats recently told EUobserver that around 10 EU countries back the September initiative, including Greece, Ireland, France, Spain and Sweden.

Obama also took the pro-Israeli line on the new Fatah-Hamas unity government.

"How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?" he asked, referring to Hamas' 1980s-era charter, which calls for the "obliteration" of Israel. The EU for its part has opted to give the unity government a chance, stepping up financial aid and saying it should be judged by future actions not past words.

Obama did not take the EU and Palestinian position that East Jerusalem should be shared between the two parties to the conflict, saying the sensitive question is better left for later down the line.

He placed strong emphasis on Israeli rather than Palestinian "security" and "rights."

And he did not include the Palestinian population under occupation and in exile in his list of Arab spring peoples seeking "dignity" and "self-determination", mentioning instead Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

Turkey 'ready' to reform terror laws for EU visa deal

Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey's ambassador to the EU, says Ankara is ready to reform its anti-terror laws and meet all outstanding benchmarks so that Turks can travel freely to EU member states without visas.

Opinion

EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy

Not extending the EU fisheries deal with Morocco to fish off the disputed coast of Western Sahara could deprive the Sahrawi people of much-needed income - and throw into question future EU foreign policy in the name of human rights.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table