‘Obama adopting Arafat’s staged plan for Israel’s end’

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‘Obama adopting Arafat’s staged plan for Israel’s end’
By GIL HOFFMAN AND REBECCA ANNA STOIL
19/05/2011
Likud’s Dannon says US president trying to force plan on PM; Livni: Speech was in Israel’s interest, urges Netanyahu to revive talks.
MKs on the Right expressed outrage on Thursday night at US President Barack  Obama’s call for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines  with mutually agreed swaps, in an exchange of territory for  security.

They called upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reject  Obama’s plan when he meets with him on Friday in Washington.

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“Barack  Hussein Obama adopted Yasser Arafat’s staged plan for Israel’s destruction, and  he is trying to force it on our prime minister,” Likud MK Danny Danon said. “All  that was new in the speech was that he called for Israel to return to 1967  borders without solving the crisis. Netanyahu has only one option: Tell  Obama to forget about it.”

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, also from  the Likud, who as a minister close to Netanyahu must be more diplomatic, said on  Channel 2 that according to Obama’s approach, the Palestinians would receive  what they were demanding on borders before negotiations begin.

“Once they  have everything from the start, they have no reason to make any concessions,” Erdan said.

But opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Obama’s plan was  clearly in Israel’s interests, while the diplomatic stalemate that she believes  was brought on by Netanyahu is not.

“On his visit, Netanyahu must display  the leadership necessary now to create the conditions necessary to restart  negotiations with those who are ready to end the conflict,” Livni said. “Only a  real Israeli initiative with content that can receive American and international  support can be an answer to the current dangers and opportunities.”

Her  Kadima colleague, MK Yoel Hasson, warned that if Netanyahu did not take  immediate action, he would bring Israel into deeper international isolation and  have borders forced on the country unilaterally.

Kadima’s MK Otniel  Schneller turned the focus back on his own party, however, calling on the  opposition’s leadership to take a strong stand behind the prime minister on  issues of foreign policy in light of Obama’s speech.

“Obama’s speech has  placed before Israeli society and its representatives the challenge of unity and  national agreement. The political disagreements and the motivation of the  opposition parties should not overpower their responsibility for the future of  the state,” Schneller said.

“On the level of diplomatic policy, Kadima  believes in the same principles presented by the prime minister, which  constitute the basis for a diplomatic program that the previous government under  [prime minister Ehud] Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni tried to advance,” he added. “It would be appropriate if during the prime minister’s meeting with  President Obama, everyone knew that the prime minister has no opposition when it  comes to realizing his diplomatic initiative. We should expect mature leadership  from the heads of all of the Zionist parties on the existential questions facing  Israel and its strategic interests.”

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab  List-Ta’al) criticized the speech, saying Obama offered “nothing new” in regards  to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Tibi told Channel 2 news the  speech was intended more for Arab audiences who have been participating in  pro-democracy protests in the past several months “Obama is riding the tiger of  Arab democracy,” he said.

Referring to the US president’s speech in Cairo  in June 2009, Tibi concluded by nicknaming Thursday’s address: “Cairo Speech  II.”

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