Lugar Reacts To Obama's Israel Comment

Obama: Israel Should Give Back Land

Sen. Richard Lugar reacted on Friday to President Barack Obama's controversial comments about Israel.

The president suggested that Israel give back land that it has held for the past 44 years in comments he made during a news conference on Thursday ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, D.C.

"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," Obama said.

Lugar, who's also chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Obama's suggestion about the Israeli/Palestinian border will no doubt come up when Lugar and other members of the Foreign Relations Committee meet with Netanyahu next week.

"The president of the United States has given a worldwide speech," Lugar told 6News' Tanya Spencer. "That brings a certain inflammation to the argument in a hurry."

Netanyahu responded to the president, saying going back to the old borders would leave Israel vulnerable to attacks.

The president's remarks have made for an awkward start in his effort to try to renew peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu takes very strong exception, as do most Israeli leaders. So this means that we've not made a great deal of headway during this week," Lugar said.

Lugar said he hopes that negotiations for peace in the Middle East are now more possible than ever. With new governments in Egypt and Tunisia, he said that part of the world is a brand new ballgame.

Obama called his 90-minute meeting with Netanyahu on Friday constructive. Netanyahu is expected to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday.