US President Barack Obama said Sunday that he "make[s] no apologies for
pursuing peace" between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel's own leaders,
he said, understand the importance of peace.
Speaking at the
AIPAC Conference in Washington, the US president
said he believes "peace is profoundly in Israel's security interests."
Various issues from shifting demographics to emerging technologies
"demand a resolution to this issue."
Obama continued that peace
with the Palestinians is consistent with Israel's founding values of
being both a Jewish and democratic place, something that he said, must be
He asserted that no lasting peace can be reached until
Israel's security needs are met, adding a demand that any Palestinian
partner recognize Israel's right to exist. Watch the AIPAC Conference live here
Obama dedicated the first part of his speech to praising his counterpart from
Jerusalem, President Shimon Peres. The US president announced he would
present the US's highest honor to Peres later this year, the
Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Peres, Obama said, has fought for
Israel's independence and has fought for Israel's peace and security as a
member of the Hagana, as a member of Knesset and in various ministerial
Obama told the conference that one need not rely on
his words to judge his commitment to Israel but can look at the last
three years of his record in office.
"I have kept my commitments
to the State of Israel," he said. "At every crucial juncture, at every
fork in the road, we have been there for Israel every single time."
that in a speech to AIPAC before his election to the presidency he said
Israeli security is sacrosanct and that it is not negotiable, Obama said
that belief has guided his administration's approach to Israel.