Diplomacy

Obama to Israel: Extend Construction Moratorium

During a White House press conference on Friday, President Obama urged Israel to extend its construction moratorium in a West Bank settlement, suggesting it will help facilitate peace talks with the Palestinians—significant remarks, considering the moratorium is looming. “What I’ve said to Prime Minister Netanyahu is that, given that so far the talks are moving forward in a constructive way, it makes sense to extend that moratorium,” said Obama. Meanwhile, Obama said he told Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to “show the Israeli public that you are serious and constructive in these talks, so that the politics for Prime Minister Netanyahu, if he were to extend the settlement moratorium, would be a little easier.” Obama also talked about domestic fiscal and economic issues, the need for Americans to mend their relations with the Islamic world, and the importance of the government to make permanent the expiring Bush-era income tax cuts for most taxpayers.