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WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tried to please a pro-Israel crowd this week by saying that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel and that the holy city should not be divided.
That angered Palestinians, who claim part of the city, and Obama clarified his remarks to say that the fate of Jerusalem should be a matter for negotiation. That angered some Israelis and their U.S. supporters.
By week's end no one was happy.
WHAT HE SAID:
Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided." The remark Wednesday followed an endorsement of peace talks with the Palestinians to form an independent state.
On Thursday, Obama was asked if that didn't send the wrong signal to Palestinians who look to the United States to be an honest broker in negotiations with Israel.
"Obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues," Obama told CNN. "And Jerusalem will be part of the negotiations."
He added that he remains opposed to division of the city.
"My belief is that as a practical matter it would be very difficult to execute," he said. "I think that it is smart for us to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in old Jerusalem, but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."
Republicans said Obama had backtracked. His campaign said no, he merely explained himself more fully.
Obama is trying to have it both ways, but there is nothing new about that.
Full disclosure: Both GWB and Clinton have said it should be up for negotiation. The only difference is Obama tried to please two groups by saying two different things in the same week.
__________________ Questions are a burden
and answers a prison
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