WASHINGTON - Israel's prime minister reiterated Monday that his country cannot return to the boundaries it held before the 1967 Mideast war and promised he would set out his vision of a peace deal when he speaks to Congress Tuesday.
Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in the late evening, repeated his assertion that such lines are "indefensible."
Netanyahu has declared the lines indefensible several times since President Obama said last week that future border negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should be based on the 1967 lines.
But Obama also said those lines could be adjusted to accommodate "mutually agreed" land swaps.
In an initial account from Israeli media, Netanyahu was quoted as saying: "Tomorow in Congress I'll describe what a peace between a Palestinian state and a Jewish state could look like. But I want to assure you of one thing: It must leave Israel with security, and therefore Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines."
The Israeli leader was interrupted by applause but also scattered heckling.
Earlier in the day, in Amman, Jordan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas defended his new unity government with the extremist Hamas movement, saying criticism of the arrangement by the U.S. president represented a "wrong understanding" of the deal.
Abbas' comments followed talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II in the Jordanian capital and were noted in a royal palace statement.
The remarks were the Palestinian leader's first public reaction to major speeches the U.S. president delivered in recent days on the situation in the region.
Hoping to revive the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace talks, Obama addressed AIPAC in Washington on Sunday.
He repeated a request for the Palestinians to drop their plans to appeal for U.N. recognition and raised concerns about an emerging Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas.
Abbas, whose Fatah movement administers the West Bank, said there was a misunderstanding of the nature of his unity government with Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since ousting Fatah from there.
The staunchly anti-Israel Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.
"There is a wrong understanding of the government, that it is a power-sharing government between Fatah and Hamas," he told reporters after talks with Abdullah. "The government is my government and it follows my strategies and policies."
He also said the two sides were working to form "a technocratic government." He did not provide details.
For his part, the Jordanian king "affirmed" the Palestinians' national reconciliation agreement, according to the palace statement.