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Merkel praises Obama's Mideast speech

The Local · 20 May 2011, 15:11

Published: 20 May 2011 10:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 May 2011 15:11 GMT+02:00

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"This was a very important message for Middle East peace process ... I very much support the fact that the US president has said that security and borders have to be talked about first of all," Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

"The proposal to use the 1967 border and to consider conducting land swaps ... would be a good path that both sides should consider," she said.

Obama said Thursday that the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state must be based on borders in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war through mutually agreed swaps.

"I also support what the president said about unilateral measures, no matter from which side," Merkel said. "Neither settlement-building nor a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state would help advance the (peace) process."

Obama warned Palestinians however that Israel had a right to defend itself and said that the unity deal between Fatah and the radical Islamist Hamas movement posed "profound and legitimate questions" for Israel.

He also bluntly told Palestinians that their effort, following the collapse of US-brokered direct talks with Israel last year, to try to win recognition at the UN General Assembly in September would fail.

Germany, traditionally one of Israel's closest allies and which currently holds a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council, has also spoken out against a "unilateral" declaration of Palestinian statehood.

In the long-awaited response to the "Arab spring" of revolts, Obama also compared "shouts of human dignity" across the Arab world to America's birth pangs and civil rights struggles.

Story continues below…

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called these comments a "powerful signal of support for democratic change in North Africa and the Arab world as a whole.

"It will give a boost to all those working for more freedom, democracy and opportunities for personal prosperity in the region."

AFP/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:39 May 20, 2011 by adipk
This is only drama again. only statements and nothing will come out. Obama just expressed but will not force Israel to go back.

Anyway looking for comments on this topic.
13:07 May 20, 2011 by delvek
Wow, really disappointed, shocking.

I guess the German Gov't is done trying to rid the world of Jews. Going back to 1967 lines would require the movement of 100's of thousands of Jews at the best. Reality is, it would place Israel with a fight or die situation.

Militarily, I would tempt Israel. Knowing in general their history as a people, they are justified in my opinion.
13:17 May 20, 2011 by melbournite
Its hardly radical to go back to the 1967 borders. Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal and there are several UN resolutions against them. There shopuld also be the right of return for the millions of Palestinian refugees. However Obama also mentioned land swaps. Its well known that Lieberman wants to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian areas within the Israeli borders and it seems Obama is giving the nod to that. However Obama is full of hot air... he says one thing with fancy words and then does the exact opposite
13:20 May 20, 2011 by germinator
Obama speaks many pretty words and says nothing. Germany approves.
13:49 May 20, 2011 by DOZ
Israel should not give back the Land they aquired. It should be accepted as payment for costs sustained for being attacked by the Arabs. A show of good faith would be better for all by converting the Occupied Territories into Settlements for Israelies and Palestinians who want to live together in Peace, Harmony and Economic Stability.
13:55 May 20, 2011 by ovalle3.14
So much trouble for a strip of land.
14:51 May 20, 2011 by delvek
Strip of land is there home.

Proportionally its like the United States giving up the Northeast, you know that strip of land in the NE corner of the US.
16:23 May 20, 2011 by adipk
For example this acquisition of land occur in Germany and suppose Israel occupied 3/4 part of Germany. What will happen. Is it good to keep in occupation? Come on grow up. I am supporter of peace but it does not destroy the borders.

Obama just gave stupid speech this cant be happen. So be realistic. Its better to return some part of land to natives and rest keep with them. stay in peace.
17:25 May 20, 2011 by Jerr-Berlin
More B.S (not a Bachelor of Science degree) from the phony career politician jerk, "King Obama"...The US has been an Israili shill since

17:27 May 20, 2011 by MarshaLynn
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:33 May 20, 2011 by Wise Up!
Another stab in back for Israel!
17:38 May 20, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
@MarshaLyn, It's pretty you despise anyone who disagrees with anything you say. Congratulations -- political lunatics like you make me puke.
17:39 May 20, 2011 by Bruno53
It won't make a difference! So in Germany they like it, and in USA Mr. Obama has been criticized. But as I said, it won't make a damn diffence. Arabs will not accept Israel, and Israel will want to keep its instransigence mood. Anything new?
18:08 May 20, 2011 by michael4096
The pro-Israeli lobby, or at least the bit with any real influence, is based on money: jewish-american money and defence money that only flows when everybody is fearful. So, I am curious, does this news reflect a decrease in their financial influence or is it despite such influence?
18:50 May 20, 2011 by willowsdad
Israel has reacted by announcing it will build more settlements on occupied land. And despite Obama's words, the US will respond to that as it always does: by keeping the billions in military aid flowing, maybe even increasing it. The thing to do is cut off the money. Then see how quickly Israeli intransigence evaporates.
19:17 May 20, 2011 by Masmuka
Obama (USA) best President on Earth will not allow war.... yes he is a stake of force for all the bad news of today.
21:09 May 20, 2011 by Avidror
When will the world understand that the 1967 borders are not the 1967 borders but the 1949 to 1967 armistice lines between Israel and Jordan?
21:11 May 20, 2011 by Redfeather
Obama will most likely not be re-elected in 2012 he has done too much against the USA tax-payers.
21:55 May 20, 2011 by karldehm
Let's face it, Israel will never accept any kind of proposal as returning to the 1967 borders or sharing Jerusalem. Why should it! It has the support of It's Jewish brothers in the US who hold so much weight that any politician would be committing suicide if he went against them.

It's in Israel's interest to do nothing. The only ones objecting are the Palestinians and as far as the world is concerned they really don't count. If they try to fight to get back their land, they are branded terrorists. If any other country in the world was doing what the Israelis have done and continue to do, they would have been

isolated and declared a rogue state.

What would you call someone who keeps something that isn't his, makes people live like animals and kills them if they object?

I'm getting more than a little annoyed with this whole process. And until Israel gets serious, stop wasting my time with this non-sense of peace.

But be aware that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
22:16 May 20, 2011 by Freeman
Barack and I grew up together in this N' hood . I can say 100% I've never felt such meaning w/devotion and boy would he accept our assistance , B'cause I hope any future battle can be averted by ind/direct communication expressing the peoples desire to understand the whole. of the difficulties and utilizing our resolving abilities. Communication is the "Key". We got work to do Guys. As you were.
22:49 May 20, 2011 by Anton Grambihler
Subject: Jerusalem

According to the UN Resolution which authorized the division of the British Mandate of Palestine, Jerusalem is International property and belongs to all the people of the world.

The solution to the current problem is for all parties to abide by this UN Resolution.

Everyone must be treated the same under International Law, National Laws, and Local Laws, NO EXCEPTIONS!
23:23 May 20, 2011 by Avidror
@ Redfeather, #18.

After having killed Osama bin Laden is not so clear that Barack Obama will not be re-elected.

@ Anton Grambihler, #21.

You're referring to the United Nations General Assembly's Resolution 181. That decision not only put Jerusalem into an international zone, it also ruled that 10 years after the division of Palestine, the inhabitants of that international zone would choose what State belong to, i.e., Israel or Palestine.

Well, since the Jerusalem's Jews want to be Israelis, and most of Jerusalem's Arabs want to be Israelis as well, according to a recent poll, if we want to abide to that Resolution, Jerusalem must be an Israeli city.
23:30 May 20, 2011 by barchen36
Get a life, this is appeasement.. IF it was granted, the next move would be to move it back to the pre-1948 lines Islam will never have peace until the entire world is uner sharia law. This is the religion of peace. BUT PEACE AT THE PRICE OF EVERYONE ELSES FREEDOM!
00:20 May 21, 2011 by showme
the aggressive stance of the zionists is the hallmark of their nation and the reason why the jewish culture has been set upon by their neighbors time after time throughout history! their refusal to compromise will again lead to their censure by the rest of the world. in the end, bullies and loudmouths get their asses kicked.
08:36 May 21, 2011 by sniffey
Who is President of the United States of America, Barack Obama or Benjamin Netanyahu? If Israel does not move back to the 1967 borders America should stop sending billions of dollars to Israel.

Afterall, it was largely money from America that funded the illegal settlements in the first place
17:05 May 22, 2011 by Major B
Israel must protect itself. The 1967 borders are a starting point but isn't a reality. Peace and prosperity to the Palestinian people. Safety for their families and a society fairly managed with by the "rule of law". Not as puppets to Hezbollah. Not as defacto surrogates for the Iranians. God bless Israel.
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