Obama tells Israelis settlement activity hurts peace prospects

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) watches a cultural event alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the Al Bireh Youth Center in Ramallah. Credit: Reuters
President Barack Obama (R) watches a cultural event alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at Al Bireh Youth Center in Ramallah.
Credit: Reuters

In a keynote speech to Israeli students, President Barack Obama said on Thursday that continued settlement activity was “counterproductive” to peace, adding that the Palestinians had a right to self-determination.

But he also insisted that now was the time for the Arab world to start normalizing relations with the Jewish state.

“Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable, that real borders will have to be drawn,” Obama said in a nationally televised speech.

Obama, coupling his push for a more conciliatory Israeli approach to the Palestinians with an affirmation of his commitment to Israel’s security, also promised that Washington will “do what me must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran”.


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