WASHINGTON — US senators proposed a resolution Thursday opposing any Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines, dealing a symbolic blow to President Barack Obama’s efforts to renew peace talks.
“It is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967,” read the text introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent.
The resolution, which enjoys the support of some 30 other senators, including Democrats, says US policy aims to “support and facilitate Israel in maintaining defensible borders.”
Last month, President Barack Obama gave rare public voice to the long-standing US policy of supporting a Palestinian state based on the borders that preceded the Six Day War, with mutually agreed land swaps.
His statement provoked a public scolding from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a subsequent White House visit. The Israeli leader also stressed the “indefensible” nature of the 1967 lines.
“Boundaries that existed on June 4, 1967 placed Israel in a precarious military situation that threatened regional stability,” Hatch said in a statement.
“This resolution reaffirms that it is the policy of the United States to support and facilitate Israel in maintaining secure, recognized and defensible borders.”
Israel and the Palestinians have been at loggerheads over negotiations, which halted shortly after they were relaunched in Washington in September 2010 when a partial freeze on Israeli settlement construction expired.
Israel refused to renew the freeze, and the Palestinians insist they will not hold talks while settlements are being built on land they want for their future state.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has since said he will not return to the negotiating table unless the 1967 lines are used as the basis for future agreed-upon borders.