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Israel hopes EU will back other parts of Obama vision
By JULIA FEINBERG IN DEAUVILLE AND HERB KEINON
05/27/2011
Elements of AIPAC speech left not unsupported by Europe; Sarkozy at G8 summit says Hamas-Fatah unity "a good sign for peace."
 
Israel wants to hear Europe praise other aspects of US President Barack Obama’s recent comments on the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, and not just the part calling for negotiations based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps, diplomatic officials said on Thursday.

 The EU as a body, and representatives of a number of European states, have praised the 1967-lines element of the speech Obama gave last week at the State Department, though without the clarifications he added in his AIPAC address.

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They have also not been equally supportive of other elements in the speeches, such as the president’s firm call for the Palestinians not to take the statehood recognition issue to the UN, and that the recent agreement between Hamas and Fatah represented an “enormous obstacle to peace.”

Last Thursday Obama said, “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

Three days later, to AIPAC, he added that this meant that “the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967... It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides.”

The problem, one diplomatic official said, is that the Europeans are highlighting certain parts of Obama’s speeches, and ignoring others.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for instance, said at the G8 summit in Deauville, France, on Thursday that his country considered the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation to be a good sign for peace and for the Middle East.

For many years it was said that peace could not be concluded with the Palestinians because they were not a united people, Sarkozy said, adding that now this was no longer the case.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday as part of a regional tour. Sarkozy said Juppé would carry a message from him to both Israel and the Palestinians that peace was urgently needed and that time worked in favor of terrorist organizations.

Sarkozy added, however, that peace was not possible if Hamas did not recognize Israel. At the same time, he said Israel needed to understand that peace was necessary for the region.
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