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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Text of the president's speech at AIPAC


Obama elaborates on '67 lines

President Obama is telling AIPAC at the moment that he expected the controversy over his comments Thursday on the 1967 lines, and elaborates:

[S]ince my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what "1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps" means.

By definition, it means that the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. It is a well known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last forty-four 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.

If there's a controversy, then, it's not based in substance. What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately. I have done so because we cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace. The world is moving too fast. The extraordinary challenges facing Israel would only grow. Delay will undermine Israel's security and the peace that the Israeli people deserve.

The tension here is that while Obama advanced the new framework out of "urgency" -- and while perhaps, in the medium term, that will be borne out -- there's no accompanying action, no plan or institutional move to restart the peace process and make it real.