President Obama recognizes Palestinians' right to be free "in their own land” as Abbas presses for end to settlements
- Year: 2013
- Length: 3:42 minutes (3.38 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
President Obama continued his Mideast trip today, with public addresses in both Israel and the West Bank. In Ramallah, during a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama said Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and a state of their own.
“If given the chance, one thing that I’ve very certain of is Palestinians have the talent, the drive, and the courage to succeed in their own state. I think of the villages that hold peaceful protests because they understand the moral force of non-violence; I think of the importance Palestinians families place on education; I think of the entrepreneurs determined to create something new, like the young Palestinian woman I met at the entrepreneurship summit that I hosted who wants to build recreation centers for Palestinian youth. I think of the aspirations of that so many young Palestinians have for their future, which is why I look forward to meeting with some of them right after we conclude this press conference. That’s why we can’t give up.”
On the streets of Ramallah and other West Bank cities, some Palestinians continued protesting Obama’s visit. Many say the US government should come out more strongly against Israel’s human rights abuses, as well as settlement expansion, especially the area known as E-1, which would divide the West Bank. At the press conference, Abbas was resolute that settlement expansion must end before negotiations of a two-state solution.
“Regarding the issue of settlements, it is not only our perception that settlements are illegal but it is a global perspective. Everybody considers settlements not only a hurdle but even more than a hurdle towards a two-state solution.”
Shortly after, in Jerusalem, President Obama addressed university students at the International Convention Center. Outside of an interruption by a heckler, the crowd of mostly young Israelis enthusiastically responded to Obama’s statements about the US friendship with Israel and to his emphasis on “Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice.”
“Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land. I’m going off script here for a second, but before I came here I met with a group of young Palestinians from the age of 15 to 22 and talking to them, they weren’t that different from my daughters. They weren’t that different than your daughters, or your sons. I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say, "I want these kids to succeed, I want them to prosper, I want them to have the opportunities just like my kids do." I believe that is what Israeli parents would want for these kids if they had the chance to listen to them and talk to them. I believe that (applause).”
Obama also told the crowd that political leaders will never take risks if people do not push them to take some risks.