Israel Says Obama’s Speech Held No Surprises

June 4, 2009 - 7:50 AM
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Jerusalem (AP) - An Israeli government spokesman says President Barack Obama's speech in Egypt could have been a lot worse for Israel.
 
Many Israelis had been anxious about the speech, fearing the U.S. leader would use the stage to step up his recent criticism of Israel.
 
But Danny Seaman, director of Israel's Government Press Office, says the speech had no major surprises and that the current disagreements between Israel and the U.S. are "well-known."
 
In his address, Obama called for the establishment of an independent Palestine and said Israel must stop building settlements in territories claimed by the Palestinians.
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to endorse a Palestinian state and said settlement construction will continue. He did not immediately react to Obama's speech.
 
In the West Bank, an Israeli settler spokeswoman dismissed President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo as naive and out of touch with reality.
 
In his speech, Obama called on Israel to halt all construction in West Bank settlements as a step toward reaching peace with the Palestinians.
 
Aliza Herbst, a resident of the Ofra settlement, says that modern history has shown that the Muslim world is at war with the West. She says Obama's vision of peace sounds nice but isn't realistic.
 
Obama's address also called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel -- a position Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to support.