Direct peace negotiations launched in White House
The Middle East direct peace talks were resumed on Thursday in a ceremony held at the White House. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in his speech on his desire to "forge a new beginning." He said: "The Jewish people are not strangers in our homeland, the land of our forefathers," Netanyahu said. "But we recognize that another people shares this land with us. And I came here today to find an historic compromise that will enable both people to live in peace, security and dignity."
Turning to address Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, Netanyahu said: "Every peace begins with leaders. President Abbas, you are my partner in peace. It is up to us to live next to one another and with one another."
For his part, Abbas called on Israel to stop settlement building and to end its blockade of Gaza. "We will spare no effort and we will work diligently and tirelessly to ensure these negotiations achieve their cause," Abbas said.