News / USA

Obama Urges Israel, Palestinians to Seize Opportunity for Peace

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid