Middle East

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu defiant on 1967 borders

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Media captionIsraeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: "Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeated his insistence that there can be no return to Israel's "indefensible" 1967 borders.

He was speaking to the US pro-Israel lobby, Aipac, on the eve of an address to the US Congress.

Mr Netanyahu and President Barack Obama have clashed over the issue recently.

Mr Obama has said the border of a future Palestinian state should be based on the 1967 lines, but modified to include land swaps with Israel.

Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War.

It is the pre-war borders that the Palestinians seek to map out a future state.

That issue, along with security and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has deadlocked peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

Swap talk

Mr Netanyahu promised to describe in his speech to Congress what a peace between a Palestinian state and the Jewish state would look like.

"I will outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace. I intend to speak the unvarnished truth. Now more than ever what we need is clarity."

He said that a peace could, and must, be realised but that the conflict persisted because "Palestinians refuse to accept the Jewish state".

Image caption The shape of future borders is one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians

"We can only make peace with the Palestinians if they're prepared to make peace with the Jewish state."

A peace deal, he said to loud applause, "must leave Israel with security, and therefore Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines".

Tension flared between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu last week when the president said "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps".

After an angry reaction from Mr Netanyahu, Mr Obama had clarified his remarks.

"Let me reaffirm what '1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps' means," he said.

"By definition, it means that the parties themselves - Israelis and Palestinians - will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967."

That is the day before the Six Day War began.

Mr Netanyahu is likely to get a warm reception from Congress, where Israel has strong and often uncritical support, says the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.

He will find support for his view that the Palestinians need to make big new concessions to forge any peace deal, our correspondent says.

But he says the Palestinians believe there is no point in any more negotiations if Mr Netanyahu does not agree to their independence within the 1967 border framework.

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