Middle East

Obama Presses for Peace

President Obama met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in New York and delivered the message that "we all must take risks for peace." Obama presided over a handshake between the two leaders, who have been almost entirely at odds since the conservative Netanyahu took office, and Netanyahu announced that both countries want to relaunch peace talks as soon as possible, without preconditions. The obstacles to negotiations have revolved around Israel halting construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as a return to pre-conflict 1967 borders. Comments by Abbas after the meeting likely foreshadow another point of debate: He insists that Israel follow through with the commitments it made in the "road map" negotiated in 2008, when Netanyahu's predecessor was in office. However, Netanyahu recently said, ""We are certainly not obligated to the positions of the previous government." He told ABC that he would not freeze settlements as a precondition to negotiations, saying "you can't freeze life."