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American Presidents On Palestine

In 1948, President Truman endorsed the creation of an Israeli state. Nearly three decades later, before finalizing the Camp David accords, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president to call for the creation of a Palestinian "homeland." Presidents have put their own spins on that effort ever since. Here's a sampling:

March 16, 1977 — Carter, at a town hall meeting in Massachusetts, said that after Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, "There has to be a homeland provided for the Palestinian refugees who have suffered for many, many years."

Sept. 1, 1982 — Ronald Reagan: "The United States will not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and we will not support annexation or permanent control by Israel. ... Self-government by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan offers the best chance for a durable, just, and lasting peace."

Oct. 30, 1991 — George H.W. Bush: "Throughout the Middle East, we seek a stable and enduring settlement. We've not defined what this means; indeed, I make these points with no map showing where the final borders are to be drawn. Nevertheless, we believe territorial compromise is essential for peace."

Jan. 7, 2001 — Bill Clinton: "There can be no genuine resolution to the conflict without a sovereign, viable Palestinian state that accommodates Israelis' security requirements and the demographic realities."

June 24, 2002 — George W. Bush, outlining a new Middle East peace plan: "It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. ... My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security."

June 4, 2009 — Barack Obama, in Cairo: "The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. ... Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

May 19, 2011 — Obama: "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 Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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