Netanyahu downplays rift with Obama

2011-05-22 18:58
Washington - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to play down a row with President Barack Obama, saying the rift between the leaders has been exaggerated.

"The disagreement has been blown way out of proportion," Netanyahu was quoted as saying by his spokesperson, a day after the Israeli leader slammed Obama's vision for Middle East peace as "based on illusions.
"It is true we have some differences of opinions, but they are differences among friends," Netanyahu said.

In a dramatic Oval Office appearance, after 90 minutes of talks on Friday, Netanyahu emphatically rejected a call from Obama on Israel to accept a return to territorial lines in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with mutual land swaps with Palestinians to frame a secure peace.

"While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines - because these lines are indefensible," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu is in Washington for a six-day trip that will also see him give a speech to the powerful Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) before a joint address to Congress, to which he was invited by Republican leaders who support his position.


Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  barack obama  |  us  |  palestine  |  israel  |  middle east peace
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