(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON – The White House announced Monday that US President Barack Obama would be addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference next week.
Obama’s speech is planned for Sunday morning at the conference’s opening session, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
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He said the address would “stress the importance of the US-Israeli relationship,” but would not be “a major policy speech.” Instead, he said the speech Obama would be giving this Thursday would be “the major speech of the week.”
Carney added, “I think he looks forward to talking about the unshakeable bond between the Israelis and the Americans and the importance of that relationship.”
During the Monday press gaggle, Carney also expressed regret
for those who were killed in Sunday’s border clashes in Israel but defended the country’s right to take measure to protect its perimeter.
“We regret the loss of life, and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those killed and wounded,” he said. “Israel, like all countries, has the right to prevent unauthorized crossings at its borders. Its neighbors have a responsibility to prevent such activity.”
He continued, “We urge maximum restraint on all sides.”
Carney additionally condemned Syria’s role in spurring the clashes.
"We are also strongly opposed to the Syrian government’s involvement in inciting yesterday’s protests in the Golan Heights,” he said. “Such behavior is unacceptable.”
He charged that Syria was trying to deflect attention from ongoing protests within his own country.
“It seems apparent to us that that is an effort to distract attention
from the legitimate expressions of protests by the Syrian people and
from the harsh crackdown that the Syrian government has perpetrated
against its own people,” he said.