Remarks by President Barack Obama’s administration considering the US relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern, said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in a statement issued on Sunday.
The AIPAC statement further called on the administration “to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with what the group referred to as “the Jewish state.”
Last week, Tel Aviv announced plans to further expand its illegal West Bank settlements by constructing 1,600 more housing units in disputed East Jerusalem (al-Quds), despite repeated condemnations by the international community.
The announcement came at a time when US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the region in the hope of boosting indirect peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Biden, along with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior Obama advisor David Axelrod, slammed the new construction and the timing of the announcement as insulting and destructive to peace efforts.
The criticism alarmed AIPAC, which is considered the most influential pro-Israel pressure group in the United States with noticeable links in Congress. Senior US and Israeli political figures regularly attend its annual conference.
In their statement on Sunday, the group warned against “the escalated rhetoric” and urged Obama to instead focus on Iran’s nuclear program and normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world.
“The administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel,” AIPAC stressed, recalling the “basic, fundamental, and strategic interests” the two share.