Ben Feller –
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – Forcefully stepping into an explosive Middle East debate, President Barack Obama on Thursday endorsed a key Palestinian demand for the borders of its future state and prodded Israel to accept that it can never have a truly peaceful nation based on “permanent occupation.”
Obama’s urging that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders – before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – was a significant shift in the U.S. approach and seemed certain to anger Israel.
Israel has said an endorsement of the 1967 borders would prejudge negotiations, and Obama took pains to show respect for Israel’s views ahead of his meetings Friday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The comments came in Obama’s most comprehensive response to date to the uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Speaking at the State Department, he called for the first time for the leader of Syria to embrace democracy or move aside, though without specifically demanding his ouster. Click here to continue reading.