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Obama: Al-Qaida not motivated by Israeli-Palestinian conflict

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said al-Qaida terrorism is not motivated by U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Al-Qaida is still bent on carrying out terrorist activity," Obama said Friday at a town hall meeting in Strasbourg, France, during a European tour.

"It is — don’t fool yourselves — because some people say, well, you know, if we changed our policies with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or if we were more respectful towards the Muslim world, suddenly these organizations would stop threatening us. That’s just not the case."

Obama added, "It is true that we have to change our behavior in showing the Muslim world greater respect, and changing our language and changing our tone. It is true that we have to work very hard for Israeli-Palestinian peace. But what is also true is that these organizations are willing to kill innocent people because of a twisted, distorted ideology. And we, as democracies and as people who value human life, can’t allow those organizations to operate."

Earlier in his speech, Obama said he was committed to working toward a Middle East peace and engaging with Iran.

"America will sustain our effort to forge and secure a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians," he said, and  "I’ve sent a clear message to the leaders and peoples of Iran that while we have real differences, we also have mutual interests, and we seek new engagement based on mutual respect.

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