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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs