JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister on Thursday gave a cool reception to President Barack Obama's Mideast policy speech, warning a withdrawal from the West Bank wold leave Israel vulnerable to attack and setting up what could be a tense meeting at the White House.
In his speech, Obama endorsed the Palestinian position on the borders of their future state, saying it should be based on Israel's lines before the 1967 Mideast war. Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the fighting, and the Palestinians claim those areas for their state.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas planned to convene a meeting with senior officials as soon as possible to decide on the next steps, said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Abbas is determined "to give President Obama's effort and that of the international community the chance they deserve," Erekat said.
The U.S., the international community and even past Israeli governments have endorsed a settlement based on the 1967 lines, but Obama was far more explicit than in the past. His position appeared to put him at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has not accepted the concept.
Reacting to Obama's speech, Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a full withdrawal from the West Bank, saying the 1967 lines were "indefensible" and would leave major Jewish settlements outside Israel. Netanyahu rejects any pullout from east Jerusalem.
Netanyahu heads to the White House on Friday and said he would seek clarifications, reports The Republic
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