WASHINGTON (JTA) — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said it "appreciated" President Obama’s clarification that he did not expect Israel to return to its 1967 lines.
"In particular, we appreciate his statement that the U.S. does not expect Israel to withdraw to the boundaries that existed between Israel and Jordan in 1967 before the Six-Day War," the pro-Israel lobby said in a statement released after Obama delivered a speech Sunday to its annual policy conference.
In a speech three days earlier outlining his Middle East policy, Obama had said that negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians should be on the basis of the 1967 lines, with agreed-upon land swaps. He also criticized the recent pact between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist group, and rejected attempts to achieve recognition of Palestinian statehood absent negotiations.
Some pro-Israel groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee praised the May 19 speech for its pro-Israel remarks, while others like the Zionist Organization of America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned the reference to 1967 lines. AIPAC was notably silent.
In its statement after his speech to the group Sunday, AIPAC also said it appreciated Obama’s posture on Hamas and Iran.
"We also commend President Obama for his explicit condemnation of Hamas as a terrorist organization and his recognition that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a group that denies its fundamental right to exist," AIPAC said. "We also welcome the president’s reaffirmation of his longstanding commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."