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Netanyahu appeals for Harper to go to bat for Israel at G8: reports say

JERUSALEM -- Israel's prime minister asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prevent G8 leaders from expressing support for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, an Israeli newspaper reported Sunday.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quotes a senior Israeli official as saying Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Harper on Tuesday, before the G8 summit in France.

The border proposal was contained in a landmark speech on the future of Israel and Palestine that U.S. President Barack Obama made earlier this month.

The G8's declaration on the issue did not include any mention of borders.

One media report said it was because Harper objected, something he wouldn't confirm or deny.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu told Harper that mentioning the border issue would be detrimental to Israeli interests and a reward to the Palestinians.

"The prime minister is in constant contact with various leaders in moving ahead the diplomatic process,'' Netanyahu's bureau told Haaretz.

The Israeli newspaper also reported in a story posted online Sunday that Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman thanked Foreign Minister John Baird, thanking him for Canada's stand during the G-8.

"Canada is a true friend of Israel and with a realistic and proper view of things, it understands that the 1967 borders do not conform to Israel's security needs and with the current demographic reality,'' Lieberman told Haaretz, one of Israel's leading newspapers.

Israel was angered with Obama's call for a Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based on its 1967 borders, before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Harper and his government has been a staunch supporter of Israel, but he was careful not to publicly question Obama's proposal during the G8, saying on Thursday it should be looked at in its entirety.

"President Obama emphasized that in a two-state solution, one of those states has to be a Jewish state and conceded to be a Jewish state, another is that the Palestinian state must be a demilitarized state,'' Harper said Thursday. "So I think these and other messages are important messages to deliver and I say I think if you look at the statement in its totality it was very balanced and it is certainly something that Canada can support.''

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