Obama's position drew a sharp rebuke from the Israeli Prime Minister shortly after the highly anticipated speech and the tension between the two leaders was clear when they spoke to the press after their one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office Friday. Netanyahu unleashed a history lesson of the Middle East on President Obama as the White House press corps recorded the awkward exchange.
The president also addressed the AIPAC conference on Sunday, attempting to clarify the administration's position on a starting point for a peace deal and to squash any controversy caused by his remarks earlier in the week.
"If there is a controversy, then, it's not based in substance," President Obama said. "What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately. I've done so because we can't afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades to achieve peace."
The president, however, did not lay out a plan to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. The Obama administration launched peace talks with much fanfare last fall, only to see them collapse within weeks over a dispute about Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.
Prospects for resumed talks took another hit in recent weeks when the terror group Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, struck a reconciliation deal with rival Fatah, which has controlled the West Bank and had been part of the talks with Israel.
In his speech to AIPAC, Reid also vowed not to allow American funding to go to a Palestinian government that included a Hamas that would not renounce violence against Israel.
"The United States of America will not give money to terrorists bent on the destruction of the State of Israel. If the Palestinian government insists on including Hamas, the United States will continue to insist that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, that it renounce violence, and that it honor the commitments made by prior Palestinian Authority governments," Reid said.
ABC News' Jake Tapper contributed to this report