President Obama just held his first trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas.
We couldn't say it better than the President himself: "It is past time to talk about starting negotiations -- it is time to move forward.... Despite all the obstacles, despite all the history, despite all the mistrust, we have to find a way forward. We have to summon the will to break the deadlock that has trapped generations of Israelis and Palestinians in an endless cycle of conflict and suffering. We cannot continue the same patter of taking tentative steps forward and then stepping back. Success depends on all sides acting with a sense of urgency."
Wide gaps still exist between the parties, and it is only with bold US leadership that we'll be able to bridge those divides and bring true peace and security to Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region. J Street's full statement on the trilateral meeting is available below the fold.
J Street welcomes today's trilateral meeting between President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Abbas.
We applaud the serious commitment President Obama has demonstrated since the first day of his Presidency to personally engage in a sustained and active pursuit of a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
With the continued wide gaps between the parties readily apparent, with the window of opportunity for a two-state solution rapidly closing, and with little political leadership coming from the parties or the region, the only hope for progress lies with strong, sustained U.S. leadership.
We urge the parties and the administration to use today's meeting as a starting point to get to the negotiating table as quickly as possible with concrete plans for addressing final status issues.
The two-state solution and a comprehensive, regional peace agreement are still the only way to ensure Israel's long-term security as a Jewish, democratic homeland and to advance U.S. interests in the region.
The status quo is unsustainable and the time has come to move beyond process and toward peace – and to address tough questions and make difficult choices. In short, it is time for real leadership.
J Street looks to President Obama to take the bold steps necessary to move toward the resolution of the conflict so needed by both peoples and in the interests of the United States and all the people of the region.