Obama: Two-States – ‘Best Way’ to ‘Reduce Tensions’ and Secure Israel

Palestinians leaders must condemn the recent wave of terror against Israelis and Israel must bring to justice those committing violence against the Palestinians, President Barack Obama said Sunday.

Addressing the inaugural HaaretzQ conference in New York via video, the President said, “We are at a critical moment. Inexcusable violence has taken too many lives – Israelis, Palestinian and Americans. I have been clear that the Palestinian leaders have to condemn the ongoing attacks [against Israelis] and stop incitement. Individuals responsible for violence including violence against Palestinian must be brought to justice.”

Obama reiterated his call “on both sides to work to defuse tensions exercise restraint and prevent more loss of life and restore calm. Adding, “The best way to reduce tensions and ensure Israel’s security is to continue working in concrete ways towards a two-state solution,”

In contrary to Sec. of State John Kerry’s recent pessimistic tone, Obama reaffirmed that “peace is necessary, peace is just and peace is possible.”

“Peace is necessary because it is the only way to ensure true and lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians and the only way to ensure that Israel remains a democratic and Jewish state. Peace is just because the two-state solution will finally bring Israelis the normalcy to which they are entitled and Palestinians the sovereign state and dignity they deserve. And peace is possible if leaders and people are willing to summon the will and courage to break free from the patterns of the past and forge a new future,” he said.

“The bonds between the United States and Israel and our commitment to Israel’s security are unbreakable,” the president said. “Our security and military cooperation is unprecedented.”

The president also said he’s a frequent reader of Haaretz’s editorial and reporting, calling the newspaper “part of a vibrant media freedom of speech and the press that’s essential to Israel’s democracy.”

Also speaking at the morning session were Palestinian chief negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat and former Foreign Minister and co-leader of the Zionist Union, MK Tzipi Livni.

In his remarks, Erekat stated that “Israel has a partner on the basis of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.” He also said that the Palestinians have recognized Israel’s existence and her right to live in peace and security in borders based on the 1967 lines.

However, as Erekat took the stage, the Israeli flag that was placed on the stage during Rivlin and Livni’s remarks was removed from the ballroom.

Erekat pleaded with the group to continue believing in the idea of a two-state solution, but he also “congratulated” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for “destroying the culture of dialogue, the culture of negotiations and the culture of peace.”

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