Obama says committed to Palestinian state
US president says during press conference in Ramallah that he told Netanyahu its US policy that settlement activity is not constructive or appropriate for peace
Elior Levy and AP
RAMALLAH – RAMALLAH – US President Barack Obama said on Thursday he had told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that continued Jewish settlement activity was not constructive and did not “advance the cause of peace.”
Obama, speaking at a joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said he remained committed to the creation of an “independent, viable and contiguous” Palestinian state and had not lost hope in achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
But he offered no new proposals to getting there.
|Obama-Abbas press conference|
He said his new Secretary of State John Kerry would spend a significant amount of time and energy trying to narrow the differences between the two sides as Washington tries to move them back to long-stalled direct talks.
Abbas told Obama that peace with Israel should not be achieved through violence, occupation, settlements, arrests or denial of refugee rights. The remarks amounted to a list of grievances against Israel.
Palestinians argue they cannot negotiate a border between Israel and a future Palestine while Israel unilaterally shapes that line through accelerated settlement building.
Abbas reiterated a desire for a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem _ territories Israel captured in the 1967 war. Since 1967, Israel has built dozens of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that are now home to 560,000 Israelis – an increase of 60,000 since Obama became president.
Abbas condemns rocket fire
The meeting was held several hours after rocket fire from Gaza resumed, with one rocket hitting the backyard of a house in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. The Palestinian president’s political advisor, Nimar Hamed, said that Abbas condemned the rocket fire.
“We condemn violence against civilians, no matter where it originates,” Abbas was quoted as saying. “We are in favor of establishing mutual and comprehensive calm in the Gaza Strip, and therefore I supported the agreement Hamas and Israel reached through Egyptian mediation.”
Palestinian news agency covered a protest held during the Obama-Abbas meeting, in which hundreds of Palestinians expressed their anger over the visit. One of them hurled a shoe at Obama’s picture and urged him to “leave Palestine.” Another declared, “I want to return to my forefathers’ village,” referring to the right of return.
Earlier Thursday, the American president visited a special exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where he viewed the Dead Sea Scrolls and Israeli technological innovations.
Several anti-Obama protests were held in Ramallah in recent days ahead of the visit, raising concerns among Palestinian security forces and American security guards of plans to create a provocation.
Obama was greeted at the Muqata to the sounds of a military orchestra, which escorted a presidential guard procession. All Palestinian ministers arrived to welcome the American president.
More than 100 reporters from all over the world arrived at the Muqataa in the early morning hours ahead of the Obama-Abbas meeting. The president held a short meeting with an extended American-Palestinian team before sitting down with Abbas for about half an hour.
At the end of the meeting, the two will hold a joint press conference, after which they will have lunch together. Obama will then leave the Muqataa for a visit at a young people’s center in al-Bireh, where he will meet with Palestinian youth accompanied by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He is expected to return to Jerusalem in the afternoon hours.
An Israeli state official responded to the rocket fire Thursday morning, saying that “the Israeli response will come at the right time and at the right place.”
Addressing the Abbas-Obama meeting, the official added: “It will be interesting to see whether the Palestinian Authority chairman, who did not condemn the rocket fire throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, will do it today.
“It’s also interesting to see if this rocket fire, carried out from an area controlled by Hamas, will prompt the PA chairman to halt the unity talks he has been holding with a terror organization calling for Israel’s destruction.”
Reuters, The Associated Press, Roi Kais contributed to this report
Move along nothing to see here, about sums it up.
The game is played, rockets from Gaza. Abbas has a spokesman condemn them but he doesn’t.
Obama calls for two states, so what so does Bibi.
I can’t demand the President of the USA be more of a Zionist than the PM of Israel.
It would be great to have a PM that would finally lay to rest the myth of peace and let us get on with life, defeat our enemies so that those Arabs that desire to live in Israel can build a better future for their families. So Israeli families can put terrorism behind themselves once and for all.
But no, that would take courage of a kind that is lacking so the game will still be played with the next President of the USA.
We will see if the next President Obama can do better, than the current one.
HAHA got ya.