Rep. Deutch: Israel Cannot Agree to Indefensible Borders
Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-19) released this statement in reaction to President Obama's speech yesterday on the Middle East and his meeting today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"Yesterday, the President made clear that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a party that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and he forcefully rejected Palestinian efforts to delegitimize and isolate Israel at the United Nations. President Obama also reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security as a Jewish, democratic state with the right 'to defend its borders against any threat.'
"The peace process will only advance when the United States works in close cooperation with our steadfast ally Israel and, therefore, today’s meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu was essential to discuss these critical issues.
"Yesterday, the President also spoke of the 1967 lines and land swaps. Should Israel find a partner for peace who is willing to join Prime Minister Netanyahu at the negotiating table, Israel cannot be expected to make any territorial concessions that do not acknowledge the reality on the ground. The 1967 borders are indefensible. References to 'land swaps' must mean that major Israeli population areas in the post-Six Day War territory, including the Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem, will forever continue to be a part of the Jewish state of Israel.
"Let us never forget that the lack of progress thus far in the peace process stems directly from the Palestinians’ outrageous refusal to directly negotiate after historic Israeli concessions. Rather than choose dialogue, the Palestinians have instead partnered with a terrorist organization that intentionally targets and murders Israeli citizens, continues to hold Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit prisoner, and denies Israel’s very right to exist. Hamas is not a partner for peace; they are a prescription for terrorism.
"Israel, our closest ally and the one true democracy in the region, is surrounded on all borders by nations undergoing dramatic change brought on by the ‘Arab Spring.' Any discussions about an Israeli-Palestinian peace process cannot mask the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the fact that Israel is surrounded by states that deny her existence and repeatedly attack her borders.