"The U.S. is committed to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East," Obama said. "It is past time to talk about starting negotiations. It is time to move forward."
During his individual meetings with Abbas and Netanyahu before their three-way session, Obama expressed to both sides his "determination and, quite frankly, his impatience" that negotiations begin as soon as possible, according to a senior administration official familiar with the discussions.
"It's time to get started," the official said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the meetings. "He argued to them that we have a window of opportunity to actually achieve the goal of achieving two states, but that it is a limited window and both sides need to act now so they don't miss it."
Missing from the meeting was Hamas, which has popular support in Gaza and they are respected in the West Bank. If we rely on Mahmoud Abbass and Netanyahu alone to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, true peace and justice will not happen during Obama's administration.
Also missing from the meeting were Israelis who want to see a two state solution that is truly fair, one that gives control of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians (Netanyahu will never allow it), or a representative of the growing number of Israelis and Palestinians who are demanding a one state solution that would give Israeli citizenship to all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
The hurdles are huge, and it may be years until we see a truly peaceful and fair treaty, so I admire President Obama for pushing forward in the pursuit of peace in the mid east.