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Obama 'misrepresented' over Middle East speec -

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US president Barack Obama has sought to reassure a powerful Jewish lobby over his speech on the
future of the Middle East.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: US president Barack Obama has sought to ease tensions over his comments last
week that a future border between Israel and a Palestinian state should follow the pre-1967 lines.

In a speech to a powerful Jewish lobby in America, President Obama said that border should be the
subject of discussions and agreement between the two parties.

While the distinction was warmly received in Washington, it hasn't changed many opinions in either
Israel or Palestinian Territories.

Middle East correspondent Ben Knight reports from Jerusalem.

BEN KNIGHT, REPORTER: Not surprisingly, the diplomatic punch-up between the US president and the
prime minister of Israel has been dominating the news in this region.

When Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly rejected the idea of starting peace talks on the basis of the 1967
borders, it was regarded as a serious snub to Barack Obama.

But the American president hit back, speaking directly to the major pro-Israel lobby in the United
States and reiterated his point firmly, saying he was only making public what's been said in
private for years.

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result
in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt and permanent
Israeli borders with Palestine.

The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so
that secure and recognised borders are established for both states.

BEN KNIGHT: But the President got loud applause when he effectively promised to block any attempt
by the Palestinians to have the United Nations recognise their state without the agreement of

Barack Obama's speech pushed hard on both sides, but pundits say that doesn't mean he's found a
middle ground.

EYTAN GILBOA, FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Obama has adopted a strategy the United States has used in
the past, taking several principles favourable to one side and several principles favourable to the
other side. The problem with this strategy is that the sides look only at those principles which
are unfavourable to them and therefore reject the whole package.

BEN KNIGHT: In the West Bank, for example, the president's stern tone towards Israel on borders
means very little to this Sadat al-Ghirayib, who lives surrounded by Jewish settlers.

SADAT AL-GHIRAYIB, PALESTINIAN WEST BANK RESIDENT: All that Obama said is in favour of Israel. He
started off sad and sorry for an Israeli boy who lost his foot because of a Palestinian rocket, but
he did not have any feeling towards the 1,500 martyrs who were cut to pieces in Gaza two years ago.
All that he is concerned with is the security and the interest of Israel.

BEN KNIGHT: But that's not how some Israelis heard the speech. To them, Barack Obama's tough
warning to the Palestinians against going to the UN and against getting into bed with Hamas were
not the main story.

Already, there have been protests against the American demand that the negotiations start from the
1967 border lines.

TAL PERRY, PROTESTOR: We deserve a secure peace and we don't deserve a peace that we can't defend.

Don't send Israel to its death by supporting policies that are wrong, that are popular but wrong.

BEN KNIGHT: It's hard to know straightaway just how this speech has been received in general in

There are moderate voices on both sides, but opinion writers in Israeli newspapers are sounding
dire warnings about everything from diplomatic isolation, as happened to apartheid South Africa, to
all-out war if an emboldened Arab people on Israel's borders try to invade in greater numbers than
they did last weekend.

It was a scene that terrified many Israelis and it was something that Barack Obama himself alluded
to in his speech.

BARACK OBAMA: A new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region. A just and lasting peace can no
longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders. Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see
that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained.

BEN KNIGHT: The American president has made his point clearly and moved on, to Ireland, where he
plans to visit his family's ancestral village. It's also a place that shows it's possible for two
blood enemies who share the same patch of land to eventually come to terms, however unlikely that
may seem.

Ben Knight, Lateline.