Reporter’s diary: Divided Jerusalem
“I say to Obama … please stop being more Israeli than the Israelis themselves, leave the Israelis and Palestinians alone to make decisions required for peace.”
The ancient city of Jerusalem is divided into East and West. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and unilaterally annexed it, in a move condemned by the United Nations as illegal.
He also said any deal between Israelis and Palestinians should preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state and that Hamas should be isolated and pledged to approve $30bn in aid to Israel over the next 10 years.
“His words on Jerusalem were very moving,” Olmert told reporters after meeting George Bush, the US president, at the White House.
The Illinois senator’s comments come a day after US media projected that Obama had enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination and face John McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate, in the November election.
Obama also had harsh words for Iran, vowing to work to “eliminate” the threat it posed to security in the Middle East and around the globe.
|Obama said an “undivided Jerusalem should
remain the capital of Israel” [AFP]
“There’s no greater threat to Israel or to the peace and stability of the region than Iran,” he told the Aipac assembly.
Calling for “aggressive, principled diplomacy” with Tehran, he also warned he would never take the military option off the table in guaranteeing US and Israeli security.
Iranians responded cautiously, but optimisticly, with officials expressing hope he can bring about change in Iran-US relations.
Hamidreza Hajibabaee, member of Iranian parliament, said: “We hope that Obama turns his words into actions, helps the Islamic Republic of Iran believe that the US has given up enmity and paves the way for fair negotiations.”