Has Barack Obama come out against dividing Jerusalem? We had thought so, based on his declaration at the AIPAC policy conference this week that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
But as I pointed out earlier, this had contradicted explicit statements by his top Middle East adviser just three weeks earlier. And today, Obama’s camp is out there “clarifying” things. Interviewed by the Jerusalem Post, Obama’s spokesman insisted that this did not mean ruling out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem, or that Jerusalem would also be the capital of a Palestinian state. “Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties” as part of “an agreement that they both can live with,” he said.
Needless to say, Americans for Peace Now are “gratified” that Obama is not “undermining the peace process” as they had initially feared. And Zionist organizations are troubled by his “troubling” change of heart. But the real question is whether Obama himself is aware of the weight of his own words, whether this is a deliberate tightrope walk between truth and falsehood, in which he risks his credibility in order to maximize his popularity among the different camps regarding Israel — or whether it is simply a blunder, which his team now has to clean up.