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!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • 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.