U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he believed a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine was achievable but urged the Palestinians to talk to Israel over statehood rather than seeking U.N. recognition.
LONDON – My goal, as I set out in a speech I gave last week, is a Jewish state of Israel that is safe and secure and recognised by its neighbours and a sovereign state of Palestine in which the Palestinian people are able to determine their own fate and their own future,” Obama told a news conference in London.
I am confident that can be achieved.”
During the joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama added: For the Palestinians to take the United Nations route rather than the path of sitting down and talking with the Israelis is a mistake.”
Palestinians will seek recognition as a U.N. member-state at the world body’s general assembly in September, a senior Palestinian official said on Saturday.
Obama said Islamist group Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, had to recognise Israel’s right to exist and abandon its strategy of violence for the peace process to succeed.
It is very difficult for Israelis to sit across the table and negotiate with a party that is denying their right to exist and has not renounced the right to send missiles and rockets into your territory,” he said.
I don’t want the Palestinians to forget that they have obligations as well and they are going to have to resolve, in a credible way, the meaning of this agreement between Fatah and Hamas if we are to have any prospect of peace moving forward.”
Obama was referring to a recent powersharing deal between Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which runs the West Bank.
Britain this month welcomed the deal brokered by Egypt to end the four-year feud between Hamas and Fatah, and, speaking alongside Obama, Cameron offered a more nuanced view.
We don’t believe the time for making a decision about the U.N resolution (on Palestinian statehood) – there even isn’t one there at the moment – is right yet.
”We want to discuss this within the European Union and try and maximise the leverage and pressure that the European Union can bring frankly on both sides to get this vital process moving, Cameron told reporters.
He said unified Hamas and Fatah had to ”accept some of what the people they are going to negotiate with desperately need.
”That, in the end, is why the peace process in Northern Ireland was successful because both sides had some understanding of what the other side needed for some dignity and some peace.