During the White House press briefing today, White House spokesman Jay Carney evaded a question asked repeatedly about which city the US government recognizes as Israel’s capital.
Carney wouldn’t disclose whether President Obama believes it to be Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Persistently questioned for just under a minute, Carney only responded that “our position hasn’t changed”
During his presidential election campaign of 2008, Obama, then a US Senator for Illinois, told an AIPAC crowd that Jerusalem will remain the “undivided” capital of Israel.
“Let me be clear,” Obama said, “Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper. But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” he added.
Shortly after the AIPAC speech, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas criticized Obama for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In an interview that followed with ABC’s Charles Gibson, Obama retracted his statement, saying that the word undivided, “was poorly chosen.”