Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas went straight to the top Saturday and directly asked President Obama to make sure the Palestinian people are given an independent state. “Mr. President and members of the American administration, since you believe in this [an independent Palestinian state], it is your duty to take steps toward a solution and to impose this solution,” Abbas said. Middle East peace talks have been at a standstill ever since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to scrap plans for 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem—an attitude that has strained his relations with the United States. And, even though he is believed to be offering certain concessions—like easing the blockade on Gaza and returning Palestinian prisoners—Netanyahu said this week there would be “no freeze in Jerusalem”.