Obama: There's Not a 'Moment to Lose' in Pursuing Peace

President's Statements Followed Meeting With Abbas

By Ron Kampeas (JTA)

Published May 29, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel and the Palestinians don’t have “a moment to lose” in pursuing peace, President Barack Obama said, while recognizing political obstacles on both sides.

Obama spoke Thursday after meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, just over a week after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“In my conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu I was very clear about the need to stop the settlements; to make sure that we are stopping the building of outposts; to work with the Palestinian Authority in order to alleviate some of the pressures that the Palestinian people are under in terms of travel and commerce, so that we can initiate some of the economic development plans that Prime Minister Netanyahu himself has said are so important on the ground,” Obama said. “And that conversation only took place last week.

“I think that we don’t have a moment to lose, but I also don’t make decisions based on just the conversation that we had last week because obviously Prime Minister Netanyahu has to work through these issues in his own government, in his own coalition, just as President Abbas has a whole host of issues that he has to deal with.”

Obama repeatedly stressed his commitment to attend to the issue. “I don’t want to put an artificial timetable, but I do share President Abbas’s feelings and I believe that many Israelis share the same view that time is of the essence, that we can’t continue with a drift,” he said. Abbas echoed, “Time is of the essence.”

Netanyahu has said he is willing to restart talks immediately, but also believes the more urgent priority is containing Iran’s nuclear threat.

Obama called on Abbas to continue improving security in the West Bank, where his Palestinian Authority is in control. “Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process,” he said.

He praised Abbas for standing fast in unity talks with Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, and insisting that anyb such government recognize Israel, disavow terrorism and abide by previous agreements.

Obama also pressed Abbas to roll back anti-Israel incitement, particularly in the schools.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.