Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama’s call for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders as a starting point for peace talks is a strategic mistake, and the only pre-condition to negotiations should be that all parties recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.
“I think they’re making the same mistake that they made at the beginning of the administration,” McCain told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday. “As you may recall, as a pre-condition, President Obama called for a freeze on all settlements and then, of course, later on, dropped that as a requirement — but the Palestinians kept it as a requirement.
“And, so, this is setting a limitation on the boundaries of the State of Israel without regard to the Israelis having a country that they are — that they can defend militarily,” McCain said. “And when you look at . . . one of the groups, Hamas, who control Gaza, are committed to the extinction in the state of Israel — then you can certainly understand why Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu would be very reluctant to support such a proposal.”
McCain noted the timing of Obama’s speech on the Middle East — in which he called for Israel to return to borders it held before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war as a pre-condition — was interesting, as Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Obama at the White House Friday.
“We all want peace talks — we all want a settlement, we all want that,” McCain said. “Why can’t we just say everybody sit down and you can work this out . . . there are many a myriad of issues and if you truly are committed, the first thing you need to do is commit to your recognition of the right of the state of Israel to exist.
“Consistently, the Israelis have made concessions at our insistence and there has not been any — any cooperation on the part of our Palestinian friends,” he said. “Now, I think there’s some good people in Palestine, I think that there are some who are committed to peace. But, the rulers of Hamas and Hezbollah in the North, as you know, have made no bones about their commitment that they have to destroy Israel.”
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