Obama modifies Jerusalem comment

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Sen. Barack Obama has changed a comment he made at the recent AIPAC policy conference, where he said Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.

“You know, the truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech, and we immediately tried to correct the interpretation that was given,” Obama said July 13 during an interview on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

“The point we were simply making was, is that we don’t want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the ’67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent. I was not trying to predetermine what are essentially final-status issues.”

At the AIPAC meeting, Obama said if he is elected president, “Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.”

The rephrasing comes on the heels of Obama’s trip to Israel and the West Bank. He will be in Israel on Tuesday, July 22, and Wednesday, July 23, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Israeli officials.

Then he’s planning to visit Ramallah in the West Bank, and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Sen. John McCain visited Israel in March but did not travel to the West Bank. Instead he spoke with Abbas by telephone. — jta