President Obama’s speech on the Middle East sets up a potentially tense meeting Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
In his speech, Obama said for the first time that Israel’s boundaries before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war should be the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In response, Netanyahu said he would not agree to such an approach, calling the 1967 lines “indefensible” and noting that they would leave out Israeli settlements in the West Bank,
The two leaders already have a somewhat frosty relationship. Last year, administration officials did not allow photographers to take pictures of a meeting at the White House between Obama and Netanyahu, in apparent reaction to Israel announcing plans to build housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem as Vice-President Biden was visiting the city.
Obama will also appear at CIA headquarters on Friday to thanks its workers for aiding the search for Osama bin Laden.
Obama on the campaign trail
After his Middle East speech, Obama on Thursday night attended two fundraisers in Washington for his presidential campaign. According to an informal count by CBS News’ Mark Knoller, he has now attended 20 fundraisers since he launched his reelection campaign on April 4, including five this week alone (three in Washington, two in Boston).
At one event Thursday, at the home of Washington attorney John Phillips, the president said “the economy is now recovered,” a debatable claim in the midst of continuing high unemployment. But he acknowledged challenges remaining, adding “this is going to be a tough race because the economy is still recovering; a lot of people are still suffering.”