Obama: Construction freeze by Israel not crucial for resumption of peace talks

(JNS.org) Speaking in Ramallah on Thursday after meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. President Barack Obama called for an “independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state” to be established alongside Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office in 2009. Credit: White House.

“The only way to achieve this goal is through direct talks,” Obama said, according to Israel Hayom. “There is no shortcut to a sustainable solution.”

Obama also said that if the Palestinians and Israelis spoke only about conditions to get to the negotiating table, the core issues of the conflict would never be discussed. Thus, Obama said, a renewed Israeli construction freeze in areas beyond the 1967 Green Line should not be a precondition to a resumption of talks. “If the core issues are solved of sovereignty and security the settlement issue will be solved,” Obama said.

Based on his talks with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said he believes that peace talks can be renewed.

“My administration is committed to doing our part,” Obama said.

“If we can get direct talks again, I think a shape of a peace deal is there. I believe the Israeli and Palestinian publics will support it,” Obama added.

Posted on March 21, 2013 .