Daily Israel Report

Obama Said "1967 lines" Not "Borders" - And It Matters

Media outlets who misquoted US President Barack Obama as saying "1967 borders" instead of "lines" are making a serious mistake, CAMERA says.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 5/20/2011, 2:07 PM / Last Update: 5/20/2011, 3:20 PM

 

Media outlets who misquoted US President Barack Obama on Thursday as saying he expected a "full a phased withwrawal" by Israel to "1967 borders" are making a subtle but serious mistake, CAMERA said.

Citing an AP story filed shortly after President Obama's Middle East speech CAMERA said the article -- only three paragraphs -- packed the serious factual error a whopping four times ("Obama says Palestine must be based in 1967 borders.")

Three times the article incorrectly refers to the 1967 lines as borders, while President Obama himself did not use that inaccurate language.

The AP article began: "President Barack Obama is endorsing the Palestinians' demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war . . . "

CAMERA points out no border existed between Israel and the West Bank before the 1967 war. The lines, established April 3, 1949 by Article III of the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement, are not borders but armistice lines, temporary boundaries to be replaced in the future by a negotiated, internationally recognized border.

The second and third paragraph of the AP article also refer incorrectly to the "1967 border." [Thus each paragraph of the brief story, plus the headline, uses the incorrect terminology. -Ed]

As for President Obama, CAMERA notes what he actually said was: "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."

The distinction is a critical one because armistice lines lines are immaterial in international law in terms of land rights and final status agreements, whereas borders often can be legally decisive.

While CAMERA used the AP article as an egregarious and illustrative example of the error - numerous media outlets made the same mistake.

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.