On Thursday, President Barack Obama said he would not give up on the peace talks that have been stalled in the Middle East. He said that the continued settlement building by Israel in the West Bank was not helping the cause.
Obama said if direct negotiations can be started again, he believed the potential is there for a deal. The U.S. president also said not only would the majority of Palestinians and Israelis support a peace plan, but the region and the rest of the world would as well.
The president made these remarks while appearing with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas at a joint news conference.
Obama said Palestinians deserve to have an independent, sovereign state and an end to Israeli occupation.
When asked about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Obama said the most important issue was to get sovereignty for the people of Palestine.
Abbas said he and Obama spoke and he told Obama that peace between the Palestinians and Israel should not be reached through occupation, settlements, violence, arrests or through denying the rights of refugees.
The message Obama gave to emphasize how important reaching peace was for Palestinians and Israel was underscored Thursday when militants in Gaza launched rockets across the border into southern Israel.
Obama will make an appeal to both the Palestinians and Israelis to stop unilateral actions that continue to make it more difficult to hold negotiations. Those actions include repeated efforts by the Palestinians to achieve U.N. recognition because of the absence of a peach accord and the continued building of Jewish housing on landed that has been claimed by Palestinians.