Yesterday, President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas in New York.
Immediately following bilateral meetings with each of the leaders, and just before a trilateral meeting, President Obama said:
"And so my message to these two leaders is clear. 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 pattern of taking tentative steps forward and then stepping back. Success depends on all sides acting with a sense of urgency."
U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell spoke with the press about the President's meeting. He said:
"This was the first meeting between Israelis and Palestinians at this level in nearly a year. Even nine months ago, such a meeting did not seem possible. Less than a week before President Obama took office, conflict was raging in Gaza and southern Israel, causing deep suffering on both sides. Today the atmosphere is different. Both parties share the goal of a two-state solution and of comprehensive peace. And both parties seek the re-launch of negotiations as soon as possible, although there are differences between them on how to proceed. The United States stands with them to help advance toward these objectives.
We have made progress, on security and economic opportunity in particular, but we have much further to go. As the President said in his public comments, it's past time to talk about starting negotiations. All sides must summon the will to move forward. Permanent status negotiations must begin, and begin soon. This was a message that the President conveyed to each of the leaders in private, as well."