Speaking with a London-based Arabic newspaper on May 12, President Barack Obama admitted that tensions in the Middle East have made it difficult to negotiate a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine.
“It’s no secret that we now have a very difficult path forward,” the President said. “As a result, the United States is taking a hard look at our approach to the conflict.
“We look to the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate – through policies and actions – a genuine commitment to a two-state solution,” he said to Asharq al-Awsat, the Arabic international newspaper.
In March 2015, Israel held one of its closest elections in decades, with incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly defeating his opponent. The election was largely focused on Israel’s economic state, but voters also paid close attention to the ongoing peace talks between the United States and Iran, with the latter being Israel’s biggest foe.
President Obama recognized the controversial deal in another interview, stating that Israel remains concerned with Iran being able to develop a nuclear weapon in the future.
“Iran clearly engages in dangerous and destabilizing behavior in different countries across the region,” Obama said to the Saudi-owned daily. “Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen. So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations."
Obama also revealed his recent meetings with international allies of the United States, reaffirming America’s support for their efforts against terrorism.
The United States looks to “further strengthen our close partnerships, including our security cooperation, and to discuss how we can meet common challenges together," Obama said. "That includes working to resolve the conflicts across the Middle East that have taken so many innocent lives and caused so much suffering for the people of the region."
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pete Souza/Official White House Photo