Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told President Obama today that he's ready for face to face peace talks with the Palestinians. This after Israel backed off its strict blockade of Gaza. It sounded like progress and came after what appeared to be a warm meeting at the White House.
President Obama not only got along better with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, they made progress on the key issue: face to face talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said I think it's high time to begin direct talks to reach a political settlement of peace.
Until now, it's been Obama Ambassador George Mitchell shuttling between the two sides. Netanyahu's also agreed to partially lift Israel's three-year blockade of Gaza, allowing in consumer goods.
Palestinians demand more. So did their supporters across from the White House today.
PLO representative Amb. Maen Rashid Areikat said we need to allow the Gazans to export their products and we need to allow the people to move freely from and to the Gaza Strip.
But Barack Obama praised the Israeli move and the Israeli leader.
President Obama said I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants peace. I think he's willing to take risks for peace.
Many on the Zionist right wing oppose anything that legitimizes Hamas.
Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said a terrorist organization in control of Gaza. That is the central issue that prevents peace.
President Obama runs a risk. Republicans complain he's too tough on Netanyahu. But the two shared tough rhetoric about Iran: No nukes will be tolerated and Netanyahu invited the Obamas to Israel.