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04:34 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Palestinians urge Arab League meeting on Obama speech

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Palestinian leaders have asked the Arab League to hold a special meeting to discuss U.S. President Barack Obama's latest speech on peace talks with Israel, local media reported on Sunday, referring to Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Palestinian leaders have asked the Arab League to hold a special meeting to discuss U.S. President Barack Obama's latest speech on peace talks with Israel, local media reported on Sunday, referring to Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

The meeting of the Arab Peace Initiative will focus on Israel's rejection of the proposals raised by Obama, and also on the Arab response to the address, Moussa said on Saturday.

In a landmark speech at the State Department on Thursday, Obama said "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 U.S. president said he believed these steps could lead to the resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestinians.

Direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, which resumed last September after a 20-month standoff, collapsed three weeks later when Israel refused to stop construction in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has rejected the U.S. president's call for an Israeli-Palestinian deal based on the borders drawn up in 1967.

In a blunt rebuke to Israel's closest ally, Netanyahu said Israel was prepared to make "generous compromises for peace" but could not go back to its 1967 borders.

After lengthy talks at the White House on Friday, a defiant Netanyahu said there could be no peace "based on illusions."

"[It] will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality," he said.

The old lines do not take into account the "demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years," he said.

An estimated 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed Obama's proposal.

Washington's partners in the Quartet of the Middle East peace mediators - the European Union, UN and Russia - have given their backing to the plan.

GAZA, May 22 (RIA Novosti)