Obama urges a borders-first approach in Arab-Israeli peace talks 

President Obama personally injected himself into Arab-Israeli peace talks Thursday, saying the two sides should immediately resume peace talks based on pre-1967 Israeli borders.

"Negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security," Obama said in a speech at the State Department. 

Obama's demand marks a significant shift in U.S. policy and would require Israel to withdraw from East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, a move that Israel has previously rejected.

"A lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples," Obama said. "Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition and peace."

Obama also scolded Palestinians for striking a power-sharing agreement with the militant Hamas, a move he said could further impede peace talks.

"Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection," he said. "And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist."

 

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