United States President Barack Obama, phoned on Friday evening the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah and discussed with him the latest developments that took place during Obama’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinian presidency spokesperson, Dr. Nabil Abu Rodeina, stated that Abbas told Obama that he is serious about pursuing a serious peace process that leads to ending the Israeli occupation to all territories captured by Israel in 1967, including occupied East Jerusalem.
In response, Obama vowed to push for establishing an independent Palestinian state living in peace next to Israel.
Obama also said that he believes peace is possible in the Middle East in the coming few years, and urged Israel not to waste the opportunity.
In an interview aired by the Israeli TV, Channel 2, on Thursday, Netanyahu said that there wouldn’t be a better chance for peace than the current opportunity, and added that he believes he can reach a peace deal with the Palestinians before his current term in office ends in 2013.
On Tuesday, Obama and Netanyahu held an extended meeting while Obama called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks in September.
He said that the peace process would be “difficult and painful”, but added that peace is possible although the current chances are limited.
Obama described Netanyahu, Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad as moderate leaders and added that “everyone must understand that we have a limited opportunity”.
During statements made in New York before heading back to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said that Israel and the Palestinians must seize the opportunity and start direct talks.
Israel is readying to resume its settlement activities this September as several Israeli ministers and coalition partners of Netanyahu’s Likud party, are talking about building thousands of units for Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
Settlements in the occupied territories, Israel’s violations and home demolitions in Jerusalem and its refusal to recognize the Palestinian right to independence, the Right of Return and the Palestinian right to control their own borders and natural resources are the main issues that are causing the collapse of any attempt to advance peace talks.