Claiming his remarks earlier this week on borders for Israel and a future Palestinian state had been misrepresented, President Obama said Sunday that "1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps" means the two sides will "negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967."
In remarks Sunday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the president tried to explain his earlier position to a warm but occasionally tentative crowd by saying that his speech Thursday at the State Department didn't offer anything new or provocative in the way of peace negotiations.
"There was nothing particularly original in my proposal; this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations," he said
"What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately," he added, saying his remarks were no different than a "well-known formula" that has been worked on for a generation.
"It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years, including the new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace," he said.
Since Thursday, tensions between the U.S. and Israel have been sharper than ever. The remarks -- in which the president said he wants Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a land deal that starts with the 1967 borders -- received considerable criticism, including a public dressing down by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It seems that the President of the United States shouldn't have to "clarify" remarks given in a major foreign policy speech, yet over and over again we see this Administration clarifying controversial remarks when issues get heated.
Taking into account Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to the calls for 1967 borders, it was quite clear what message President Obama sent to the Jewish State last week.