News / USA

Obama Urges Israel, Palestinians to Seize Opportunity for Peace

Multimedia

Audio

President Barack Obama says Israelis and Palestinians must seize the opportunity for achieving a lasting peace presented by the resumption of direct negotiations.  Mr. Obama sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and other key Mideast leaders ahead of Thursday's formal opening of direct talks at the State Department.



One by one, Mr. Obama welcomed the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Egypt to the Oval Office, in this his first intensive foray at making progress on issues that have been so intractable for previous U.S. presidents.

In one of three appearances before television cameras, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side, President Obama described some of what he told Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.

"As I told each of them today, this moment of opportunity may not soon come again," said President Obama. "They cannot afford to let it slip away.  Now is the time for leaders of courage and vision to deliver the peace that their people deserve."

Related video report by Kent Klein:

President Obama said the goal of the talks is resolution of all final status issues, and a negotiated settlement leading to an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state living in peace and security with a Jewish state of Israel.

If both sides do not commit to the talks in earnest, the president said, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue to fester and consume another generation.

Earlier, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced in strong terms Tuesday's incident in Hebron in which four Israelis were killed by a Palestinian gunman.  The Islamist militant group Hamas claimed responsibility. President Obama vowed that such attacks would not be allowed to derail peace efforts.

Among key issues in resumed direct talks is the 10-month partial freeze on new settlement construction in the West Bank.  The freeze expires on September 26, and the Palestinian side has insisted that Israel extend its moratorium on construction.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has emphasized the need for Palestinian recognition of Israel and assurances of effective and durable security measures and an end to violence.

Before a working dinner, all five leaders appeared before the media in the White House East Room to address the central goal - achieving a final settlement within the next year of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Frequently turning to President Abbas, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he had come to find a historic compromise that will enable Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, security and dignity.

"Let us not get bogged down by every difference between us," said Mr. Netanyahu. "Let us direct our courage, our thinking and our decisions at those historic decisions that lie ahead."

President Abbas said the time has come to make peace, end Israel's occupation of the West Bank, and for both peoples to live side by side.

"It is time that an independent Palestinian state be established with sovereignty side by side with the state of Israel," said President Abbas. "It is time to put an end to the struggle in the Middle East."

Saying Middle East peace has been an elusive hope for two decades, Mr. Mubarak called on Israel to freeze new settlement activity, while Jordan's King Abdullah spoke about the risk of failure.

MUBARAK: "It is no longer acceptable or conceivable on the verge of the second decade of the third millennium that we fail to achieve just and true peace."

ABDULLAH: "There are those on both sides who want us to fail, who will do everything in their power to disrupt our efforts today.  Because when the Palestinians and Israelis find peace, when young men and women can look to a future of promise and opportunity, radicals and extremists lose their most potent appeal."

At the State Department on Thursday, Secretary Clinton will formally open the re-launched direct negotiations, followed by additional public remarks by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, before private talks begin.  Middle East Envoy George Mitchell plans to brief reporter later in the day.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs