Obama accused of ‘betraying’ Israel

Fri May 20, 2011 8:34AM

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama has been accused of “betraying” key ally Israel by pushing it for a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Top Republican contenders for the White House in 2012 presidential election accused Obama on a day that he called on Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories to the 1967 borders.

Republican Representative Michele Bachmann, who has been mentioned as a possible 2012 candidate, charged that Obama “has betrayed our friend and ally Israel.”

“President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus,” said former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Thursday.

“He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace. He has also violated a first principle of American foreign policy, which is to stand firm by our friends,” AFP quoted Romney as saying.

In his Middle East policy speech on Thursday, Obama said that the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state should be based on the 1967 lines.

The speech, however, provoked an immediate response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposes the formation of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders before the 1967 war.

Netanyahu said, “those borders are not defensible,” and the establishment of a Palestinian state must not come “at Israel’s expense.”

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, another likely 2012 contender, also said in a statement that Obama’s proposal was “a mistaken and very dangerous demand.”

“At this time of upheaval in the Middle East, it’s never been more important for America to stand strong for Israel and for a united Jerusalem,” he said.

Meanwhile, Obama said that he does not believe that Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal, The New York Times cited Obama aides as saying on Friday.

The US president and the Israeli premier will hold their seventh meeting in Washington on Friday.

SB/AGB

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