President Barack Obama repeated on Sunday his proposal for Israel’s 1967 borders to be the starting point for peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The 1967 lines refer to Israel's borders before it made territorial gains in the Six-Day War.
After first making the call on Thursday, Obama has been accused of shifting the U.S. away from its pro-Israel stance for “a credible peace process.”
But Obama said on Sunday that the controversy is not based on substance and that he was only saying publicly “what has long been acknowledged privately.”
He further clarified that what he meant was “that the parties themselves – Israelis and Palestinians – will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967."
Some 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls sounded off:
Sarah Palin said to Fox News on Saturday that “more than ever we should be standing strong with Israel and saying ‘No, you don't have to divide Jerusalem, you don't have to divide your capital city.’”
Herman Cain said on Fox News Sunday that if he were president and negotiating a Middle East peace deal, he would offer the Palestinians "nothing. I'm not convinced the Palestinians are really interested in peace."
Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota representative, argued, “President Obama has again indicated his policy toward Israel is to blame Israel first.”
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty commented, “President Obama's insistence on a return to the 1967 borders is a mistaken and very dangerous demand. The city of Jerusalem must never be re-divided. To send a signal to the Palestinians that America will increase its demands on our ally Israel, on the heels of the Palestinian Authority's agreement with the Hamas terrorist organization, is a disaster waiting to happen."
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, charged that “President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace.”
Rick Santorum wrote, “President Obama prejudged the minimum negotiation starting point for the Palestinians and gave the Palestinian leadership a tremendous diplomatic boost, putting Israel further on the defensive.”
Newt Gingrich told CBS' Bob Schieffer that Israel’s 1967 borders were “totally non-defensible” and that “the idea that that somehow we’re supposed to be neutral between Hamas and Israel is fundamentally flawed. And I do not believe we should have any pressure on Israel as long as Hamas’s policy is the destruction of Israel.”