Obama Hosts Mideast Peace Talks: ‘Too Much Blood Has Already Been Shed’
September 2, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Direct Mideast peace talks begin in earnest today at the State Department, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton guiding the discussions. Despite the Hamas instigated violence in Israel this week, with four Israelis shot dead and two others injured, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have remained resolute, determined to forge ahead with settlement negotiations. Yesterday was a time for diplomatic niceties and photo ops, as President Obama hosted the four heads of state involved in the talks, Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah II of Jordan. Today, the real work begins, with Israel’s West Bank settlement policy one of the most divisive issues.
The New York Times reported on the diplomatic theater at the White House yesterday:
“We are but five men,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday night. “But when we come together, we will not be alone. We will be joined by the generations of those who have gone before.”
In somber, emotional tones at the White House Wednesday night, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas expressed their own determination to make peace.
Mr. Netanyahu, turning toward to Mr. Abbas, called him his “partner in peace.” He said he came to find a “historic compromise” but warned that any deal must be anchored in ensuring Israel’s security.
Mr. Abbas, for his part, said he would push hard despite “the difficulties we’re going to face tomorrow.” But he quickly foreshadowed the biggest early sticking point in the talks, calling for Mr. Netanyahu to freeze settlement activity in the West Bank.
Yesterday, President Obama met with each leader individually, before they all convened later for dinner.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton believe the involvement of Jordan and Egypt is key to the success of the talks, to forge a regional solution.
“Too much blood has already been shed, too many hearts have already been broken,” Obama said. “This moment of opportunity may not return soon again.”
Photo Source: White House Flickr
President Obama’s Rose Garden Remarks can be found here.