Right-wing media have falsely claimed that in his May 24 address to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "rejected" President Obama's plan to create an independent Palestinian state that "should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." In fact, Netanyahu made clear in his speech that his comments were not a rejection of Obama's proposal and thanked Obama for his "steadfast commitment to Israel's security."
Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim Netanyahu "Rejected" Obama Border Plan
Carlson: Netanyahu "Insisting" Israel Can't Return To 1967 Borders "As President Obama Has Proposed." On the May 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson stated: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu getting more than 20 standing ovations during his address to Congress. More than President Obama at the State of the Union. Netanyahu insisting there is no way that Israel can return to 1967 borders as President Obama had proposed." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/25/11]
Hoft: "Netanyahu Rejected Obama's Dangerous Plan." In a May 24 post on Gateway Pundit, conservative blogger Jim Hoft wrote: "Last week Barack Obama pushed Israel to hand over half of Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall, The Temple Mount, Old Jerusalem, and the tomb of Jesus Christ to the Hamas-Fatah terrorist alliance. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Obama's dangerous plan. Congress gave him a standing ovation." [Gateway Pundit, 5/24/11, emphasis in original]
Beck: Netanyahu "Had To Say" 1967 Borders Are Indefensible Because Obama "Played Into The Hands Of Radicals." From the May 24 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: But tonight Benjamin Netanyahu -- he addressed a joint session of Congress to make crystal clear where he stands. Listen.
NETANYAHU [video clip]: Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967.
BECK: Now, because he said that -- no, I take that back. Because the President of the United States knowingly or unknowingly has played to the hands of radicals in the Middle East and here in America, he had to say that. And now the world is on a collision course. The world is very clear where Benjamin Netanyahu stands. I have told you where I stand. I stand with Israel. We know where the president stands. Soon, soon, if you don't know yet, soon you're gonna be-- You're gonna need to be crystal clear on where you stand. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/24/11]
Bolton: Obama's Position Has Been "Radical," So "It's Little Wonder Why Benjamin Netanyahu Rejected It." On the May 25 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Fox News contributor John Bolton claimed that "the idea that the '67 lines have any political significance is simply wrong ... [s]o the president's position has been very radical during his entire tenure in office, and little wonder, therefore, I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu rejected it as he did." [Fox News, Happening Now, 5/24/11]
In Fact, Netanyahu Clearly Established That His Comments Were Not A Rejection Of Obama's Proposal
Netanyahu: "As President Obama Said, The Border Will Be Different Than The One That Existed On June 4th, 1967." In his May 24 address to Congress, Netanyahu thanked President Obama for his "steadfast commitment to Israel's security," saying:
NETANYAHU: My friends, you don't have to -- you don't need to do nation- building in Israel. We're already built.
You don't need to export democracy to Israel. We've already got it.
And you don't need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves.
You've been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you, President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel's security.
I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.
The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I'm saying today something that should be said publicly by all those who are serious about peace: In any real peace agreement, in any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel's borders.
Now, the precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We'll be generous about the size of the future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4th, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967. [Netanyahu's address to Congress, 5/24/11, emphasis added]
Indeed, Obama Made Clear That The Border Will Be Different From The 1967 Lines
Obama Called For "A Viable Palestine, A Secure Israel" "Based On The 1967 Lines With Mutually Agreed Swaps." From Obama's May 19 speech on the Middle East and North Africa:
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -- by itself -- against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.
These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I'm aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. [Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa, 5/19/11]