In the wake of remarks by President Obama last week that Israelis and Palestinians should base negotiations on borders that were in place in 1967, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the U.S. and strongly condemned the use of those borders.
Israel and the U.S. are long-time allies, but President Obama's challenge to the Israeli leadership is reportedly causing tension in both countries.
Netanyahu called the 1967 lines "indefensible" and said they made Israel only 9 miles wide. President Obama remarked that he is only seeking a starting point for everyone's common goal: peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
But, that peace deal seemed far away as Israel continued to approve settlements in the Palestinian territories, and groups clashed along the border. The ongoing protests in Syria are also increasing tension in the region, since Israel shares a border with Syria.
"While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines, because these -- these lines are indefensible. Remember that, before 1967, Israel was all of nine-miles-wide. It was half the width of the Washington Beltway. And these were not the boundaries of peace. They were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on Israel was so attractive." - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"Obviously, there are some differences between us in the precise formulations and language, and that's going to happen between friends. But what we are in complete accord about is that a true peace can only occur if the ultimate resolution allows Israel to defend itself against threats." - President Obama
1. Where is Israel? What countries does it border?
2. Why is the issue of land in the Middle East so divisive?
3. Why does it matter to the U.S. what takes place in Israel and other parts of the Middle East?
1. What is your impression of President Obama in this video? What is your impression of Prime Minister Netanyahu?
2. Why is the U.S.'s relationship with Israel complicated?
3. If you lived in Israel or the Palestinian territories, how do you think you would feel about the U.S. trying to broker peace in your region?
4. How do you think President Obama should handle the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians?