I want to make it clear that the vote of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations does not represent a change in our position regarding the Israeli settlements in the occupied areas nor regarding the status of Jerusalem.
While our opposition to the establishment of the Israeli settlements is longstanding and well-known, we made strenuous efforts to eliminate the language with reference to the dismantling of settlements in the resolution. This call for dismantling was neither proper nor practical. We believe that the future disposition of existing settlements must be determined during the current Autonomy Negotiations.
As to Jerusalem, we strongly believe that Jerusalem should be undivided, with free access to the holy places for all faiths, and that its status should be determined in the negotiations for a comprehensive peace settlement.
The United States vote in the United Nations was approved with the understanding that all references to Jerusalem would be deleted. The failure to communicate this clearly resulted in a vote in favor of the resolution rather than abstention.
I want to reiterate in the most unequivocal of terms that in the Autonomy Negotiations and in other fora, the United States will neither support nor accept any position that might jeopardize Israel's vital security interests. Our commitment to Israel's security and well-being remains unqualified and unshakable.
Sources: Public Papers of the President