Obama is welcomed by Israeli President Shimon Peres (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a welcoming ceremony at the Ben-Gurion Airport.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is still committed to finding a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, during a press conference with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
“Israel remains fully committed to peace and the solution of two states for two peoples,” Netanyahu said, appearing next to Obama at his residence.
His words were noteworthy after the recent Israeli elections, during which the peace process hardly came up.
Obama discussed the peace process at length after a question about “what went wrong” from MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, saying repeatedly that the effort to come to a two-state solution is “hard.”
“With regard to the peace process, I think you are absolutely right that in the past year, year and a half, two years, we haven’t gone forward,” Obama said.
Obama said the Palestinians “should feel that they are masters of their own fate,” and that the Israelis should feel that “the possibility of rockets raining down on their families has diminished.”
Obama said that his original commitment in his first term “was not to achieve a peace deal.”
“What I said was I was not going to wait to start on the issue until my second term,” Obama said.
“Ultimately this is a really hard problem,” Obama said. “The parties involved have some profound interests that you can’t spin or smooth over.”
“Both parties have politics,” Obama said.
“I will admit that frankly, sometimes it would be easier to not make the argument, to avoid the question, precisely because it’s so hard,” Obama said.
The two leaders took four questions total before adjourning the conference.