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Barack Obama Administration: Letter to Chairman of Conference of Presidents

(April 20, 2010)

Mr. Alan P. Solow
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
633 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10017

Dear Alan:

Thank you for expressing your concerns to my staff about our policies in the Middle East. Since we have known each for a long time, I am sure you can distinguish between the noise and distortion about my views that have appeared recently, and the actual approach of my Administration toward the Middle East.

For over 60 years, American Presidents have believed that pursuing peace between Arabs and Israelis is in the national security interests of the United States. I share that understanding and have made the pursuit of peace, including a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a top priority from my first day in office. I am deeply committed to fulfilling the important role the United States must play for peace to be realized, but I also recognize that in order for any agreement to endure, peace cannot be imposed from the outside; it must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are require to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history. We are determined to help them, particularly because the status quo does not serve the interests of Israel, the Palestinians, or the United States.

As for our relations with Israel, let me be very clear: we have a special relationship with Israel and that will not change. Our countries are bound together by shared values, deep and interwoven connections, and mutual interests. Many of the same forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States and our efforts to secure peace and stability in the Middle East. Our alliance with Israel serves our national security interests.

As we continue to strive for lasting peace agreements between Israel, the Palestinians, and Israel's neighbors, all sides should understand that our commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable and that no wedge will be driven between us. We will have our differences, but when we do, we will work to resolve them as close allies.

I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of peace.


Barack Obama

Sources: Conference of Presidents