Netanyahu, Obama Discuss Israel-Palestine Peace Agreement

By:  Warren Mass
03/05/2014
       
Netanyahu, Obama Discuss Israel-Palestine Peace Agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama at the White House on March 3 and the main topic on the agenda was the U.S.-drafted framework for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Just prior to the meeting, the two leaders made statements that are posted on the White House website.

Obama stated, in part: 

It's a pleasure to welcome once again Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Oval Office. There’s nobody I’ve met with more or consulted with more than Bibi. And it's a testimony to the incredible bond between our two nations. I’ve said before and I will repeat, we do not have a closer friend or ally than Israel and the bond between our two countries and our two peoples in unbreakable. 

And Netanyahu replied, in part:

Mr. President, you rightly said that Israel, the Jewish state, is the realization of the Jewish people’s self-determination in our ancestral homeland. So the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, a nation state for the Palestinian people. I think it’s about time they recognize a nation state for the Jewish people. We’ve only been there for 4,000 years. 

Reports from Reuters News, USA Today, Fox News, and AP soon after the meeting noted that the president had assured Netanyahu that the United States remains committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Obama also asked Israel and the Palestinians to compromise to reach a U.S.-brokered peace framework, stating: “It is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine, with people living side by side in peace and security. But it's difficult. It requires compromise on all sides.”

Addressing Netanyahu’s concerns that the United States might soften it position on Iran’s nuclear fuel enrichments program, Obama pledged “my absolute commitment that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Upon arriving in Washington on Sunday, Netanyahu told reporters that he was committed to negotiations for a peace settlement, but he wanted to see proof that the Palestinians were committed as well.

“The tango in the Middle East needs at least three,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying in the Jerusalem Post. “For years there have been two — Israel and the US. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present. In any case, in order for us to have an agreement, we must uphold our vital interests. I have proven that I do so, in the face of all pressures and all the turmoil, and I will continue to do so here as well.”

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Photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama: AP Images

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