WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama vowed Wednesday that Jerusalem must “remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
“Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.
“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” Obama said.
The Palestinians also want Jerusalem to be the capital of their own country. United States policy has long been intentionally vague on the status of Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy in Israel is in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.
Obama opened his speech to AIPAC by paying tribute to his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, calling her an extraordinary public servant who had made history alongside him in their 16-month race for the party’s presidential nomination. Watch more of Obama’s AIPAC speech »
Obama clinched the nomination Tuesday night, but Clinton did not admit defeat in her speech after the polls closed.
Obama called Iran the greatest threat in the Middle East, but reiterated his willingness to meet with the Islamic state’s leaders under appropriate conditions.
“Contrary to the claims of some, I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking. But as president of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing — if, and only if it can advance the interests of the United States,” Obama said.