Barack Obama clarified his stance on the future status of Jerusalem.
After telling the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” the presumptive Democratic nominee told CNN on Thursday that that fate of the city would be up to Israel and the Palestinians to discuss.
A campaign adviser also told the Jerusalem Post that the U.S. senator from Illinois would not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of the disputed city.
The clarifications came after Obama’s remarks to the AIPAC confab in Washington were met with harsh reaction from the Palestinians.
The Orthodox Union, which hailed Obama’s first statement on Jerusalem, said it was “extremely disappointed” by the apparent subsequent shift, according to the New York Post.
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), one of Obama’s foremost Jewish backers, denied that Obama had shifted on the issue.
“He believes Jerusalem should be an undivided city and must be the capital of a Jewish state of Israel,” Wexler said, according to ABC News. “He has also said – and it’s the same position as President Bush, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – that Jerusalem is of course a final-status issue. And Sen. Obama as president would not dictate final-status issues. He will permit the Palestinians and Israel to negotiate, and he would respect any conclusion they reach.”