Netanyahu Denies Agreeing to '67-based Borders With Palestinians

'Why shouldn't Jews be allowed to buy houses and live in East Jerusalem, asks Prime Minister, in response to query on U.S. criticism.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, July 28, 2014.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, July 28, 2014.Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied having consented to basing "the border between Israel and the Palestinians on the '67 borders" in an interview with Israel Radio that was broadcast on Friday morning.

"That is simply untrue," said Netanyahu. "What happened was that the Americans wanted to propose a framework that will include items the Palestinians reject, such as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, or the inclusion of territorial swaps as part of an Israeli withdrawal to the '67 borders. The Americans' said 'we will raise this as a proposal for a discussion, and every side will say what they accept and what they reject.'"

Netanyahu repeated his criticism of the negative American response to Israeli construction plans in East Jerusalem, saying "it is better to know the facts before deciding to take such a stance."

"Why shouldn't Jews be allowed to buy houses and live in East Jerusalem?" asked Netanyahu. "Arab and Muslim citizens are free to buy and move into houses anywhere in Israel, and I simply cannot fathom why the opposite should not be true... I simply cannot accept such a position."

When asked about tensions with the White House in connection to settlement construction, Netanyahu again denounced the "irresponsible" actions of unnamed parties, and accused groups within Israel of intentionally causing harm to Israel's relationship with the U.S.

Israeli nonprofit Peace Now published a statement condemning the plan to build new housing units in Givat Hamatos Wednesday, ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington.

Earlier on Thursday, Israel's decision to move forward its plan for 2,600 new housing units in Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem will "poison the atmosphere" and call into question Israel's commitment to peace, the U.S. State Department and White House said Wednesday.

Opposition head MK Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) described Netanyahu's remarks as "betraying the depressing state of his rule."

"If Netanyahu doesn’t want a peace agreement, he should simply tell the public the truth, rather than telling tales," said Herzog, who was interviewed after the prime minister's remarks were aired. "The American's have no faith in any words Netanyahu tells them," he added.

Herzog called Netanyahu's domestic policy "Alarmingly lacking." "Asked three times about the high cost of living in Israel, Netanyahu's answer is always Islamic State," said Herzog. "This should come as a surprise to no one, this is Netanyahu's way to keep inside his 'safe zone'... The Israeli public must rip off this mask," said the Labor MK. "You can't fool all of the people all of the time."

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