Obama: Israelis, Palestinians to make difficult compromises
U.S. President Barack Obama called Friday "for all of us to redouble our efforts" toward separate Israeli and Palestinian states. "The moment is now for us to act," he stressed.
Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel the American leader conveyed: "The United States can't force peace upon the parties." But according to him, his country has "at least created the space, the atmosphere, in which talks can restart."
He disclosed that he was dispatching special envoy George J. Mitchell to the region next week to follow up on his speech. According to the AP, Obama said that while regional powers and the entire international community are going to have to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace, "ultimately the parties involved have to make the decision that the prosperity and security of their people are best served" by an accord.
Obama stated: "I think the moment is now for us to act on what we all know to be the truth, which is each side is going to have to make some difficult compromises." He renewed his call for Israel to stop settlement construction activity in the West Bank, adding: "I recognize the very difficult politics in Israel of getting that done and I'm very sympathetic to how hard that will be." He also pressed Palestinians reduce anti-Israel rhetoric. Obama said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "has made progress on this issue, but not enough."
"All of these things are going to take time. But I'm confident ... we are going to make some progress on it," Obama added.