White House Points Fingers at Both Sides in Mideast Peace Impasse

Barack Obama Signals Step Back From Diplomatic Push

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By Ron Kampeas

Published April 26, 2014.
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(JTA) — A pox on both your houses, but when you want a cure, we’re still here.

That is the message the Obama administration is sending Israel and the Palestinians amid the deepening crisis in peace efforts.

“What we haven’t seen is, frankly, the kind of political will to actually make tough decisions. And that’s been true on both sides,” Obama said Friday from South Korea.

The president’s remarks followed Israel’s suspension of talks this week in response to a governance deal between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas.

Obama suggested that the peace process may have to be paused. But he also vowed that the United States was still ready to help the parties move toward peace.

“There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

A moment later, though, he suggested that there was no alternative to returning eventually to the negotiating table.

“Realistically, there’s one door, and that is the two parties getting together and making some very difficult political compromises in order to secure the future of both Israelis and Palestinians for future generations,” he said. “Do I expect that they will walk through that door next week, next month, or even in the course of the next six months? No. Are we going to continue to try to offer constructive approaches that could lead them to go ahead and take those steps? Absolutely.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the U.S. team managing the peace talks remained on the ground and in touch with the parties.


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