Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:14 am Video: President Obama's Bilateral Meeting PM Netanyahu
President Obama's Bilateral Meeting
with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
President Obama: ". . . We do not have a closer friend or ally than Israel and the bond between our two countries and our two peoples in unbreakable.
. . .
I want to commend publicly the efforts that Prime Minister Netanyahu had made in very lengthy and painstaking negotiations with my Secretary of State, John Kerry, Abu Mazen."
PM Netanyahu: " . . . The 20 years that have passed since Israel entered the peace process have been marked by unprecedented steps that Israel has taken to advance peace. I mean, we vacated cities in Judea and Samaria. We left entirely Gaza. We've not only frozen settlements, we've uprooted entire settlements. We've released hundreds of terrorist prisoners, including dozens in recent months.
And when you look at what we got in return, it's been scores of suicide bombings, thousands of rockets on our cities fired from the areas we vacated, and just incessant Palestinian incitement against Israel. So Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say that the Palestinians haven't.
Now, I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it's the truth. And the people of Israel know that it's the truth because they've been living it. What they want is peace. What we all want fervently is peace. Not a piece a paper --- although that, too -- but a real peace; a peace that is anchored in mutual recognition of two nation states that recognize and respect one another, and solid security arrangements on the ground.
Mr. President, you rightly said that Israel, the Jewish state, is the realization of the Jewish people's self-determination in our ancestral homeland. So the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, a nation state for the Palestinian people. I think it's about time they recognize a nation state for the Jewish people. We've only been there for 4,000 years.
And I hope President Abbas does this, as I hope that he'll take seriously Israel's genuine security needs. Because, as you know and I think everybody does, in the Middle East, which is definitely the most turbulent and violent part of the Earth, the only peace that will endure is a peace that we can defend. And we've learned from our history -- Jewish history, but I think from general history -- that the best way to guarantee peace is to be strong. And that's what the people of Israel expect me to do --- to stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state."