Nightly News | May 21, 2011
HOLT: question of borders is very personal in the Middle East , where both Israel and the Palestinians lay claim to some of the same land. NBC 's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has the reaction to President Obama 's speech in that troubled region.
Pres. OBAMA: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine ...
RICHARD ENGEL reporting: In a single statement, President Obama went to the core of the Arab-Israeli
conflict: Israel 's 1967 borders . The issue remains emotional in Israel , where many see returning to 1967 as putting Israel 's very existence at risk.
Unidentified Man #1: The '67 border is something that make Israel fragile.
ENGEL: On the other side of the divide, Palestinians feel without enough land, they'll never be secure either.
Unidentified Man #2: We will not be enthusiastic about anything until we see a real change in the ground.
ENGEL: In 1967 Israel expanded dramatically. In just six days, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria , the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan . Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for peace with Egypt . Arabs have long argued the rest needs to follow in return for more peace. But Israel says it needs the Golan for water and at least parts of the West Bank for settlements and security, and that it will not compromise on Jerusalem . So for years there's been deadlock, until this happened. The Arab street has mobilized, unleashing pent-up anti-Israeli sentiments. Last weekend in Cairo , protesters tried to storm the Israeli Embassy . They wanted to burn it down. After the revolution here in Egypt and the ongoing protests across the Middle East , people in the Arab world feel empowered and say just as they were no longer willing to accept dictatorships, many here say they will also no longer be willing to accept a peace process they say favors Israeli. Egyptians expect Arab demands on Israel will only grow as the Arab spring revolutions mature.
Unidentified Man #3: The Arab people, they are not -- they are brave enough and the -- they have a self-confidence. Now they are not afraid from Israel .
ENGEL: For the United States it's a politically risky balance to protect an ally, but also to embrace the changing Middle East . Richard Engel , NBC News ,