Obama to AIPAC: 1967 borders reflect long-standing U.S. policy
U.S. president clarifies his Mideast vision for Israel, Palestine borders not identical to June 4, 1967 lines.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday before the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby that two states for two people based on 1967 borders has been a long-standing U.S. policy for Mideast negotiations.
After a contentious couple of days, Obama said his endorsement of the Israel's 1967 boundaries as the basis for a Palestinian state reflected the urgent need for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
Moreover, Obama used the AIPAC address to clarify his statement in his Mideast speech on Thursday, emphasizing the U.S. believes in negotiations based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps. He clarified that he did not mean the borders that existed on June 4, 1967.
Obama said his call for a future Palestine based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps was a public expression of what has long been acknowledged privately.
Obama said he brought this out in the open because delay will undermine Israel's security and prospects for peace. He repeated his remarks from Thursday on Israeli-Palestinian borders and security verbatim.
The U.S. president also warned that Israel will face growing isolation without a credible Middle East peace process and said that we cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace.
Obama reassured the crowd of Israel supporters that the U.S. commitment to Israel's security is 'ironclad' and that the U.S. demands that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist.
The U.S. president also urged Hamas to release abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
Obama reemphasized the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and said his administration "will continue to maintain Israel's qualitative edge."