Obama to AIPAC: I make no apologies for pursuing peace

US President Obama reaffirms commitment to Israel, calls the Jewish State's security sacrosanct and non-negotiable; announces he will present Shimon Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

March 4, 2012 18:33
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama at AIPAC Conference

US President Barack Obama at AIPAC Conference 390. (photo credit: Screenshot)


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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 protected.

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 positions.

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."

Noting 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.

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