Israel Palestinian Leaders Resume Direct Peace Talks

09.03.10 | FL News Team

(Washington, DC)  --  For the first time in a couple of years, Israel and the Palestinians  formally opened direct peace talks.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the State Department on Thursday.  Clinton called it an important step and noted decades of conflict, hostility and suspicion on both sides.  She praised the two sides for exhibiting courage and commitment and warned that enemies of peace will do everything possible to harm the negotiations.  

The U.S. is pushing hard for an elusive two-state solution, allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace and security.  Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that a peace deal can only be achieved through "mutual and painful concessions."  He said there is  much tough work ahead.  President Abbas said territorial disputes in occupied lands must be resolved.  He said peace between Israelis and Palestinians is vital to regional stability in the volatile Middle East.

Opening the two-day peace summit Wednesday, President Obama expressed hope that a lasting peace deal could be worked out in about a year.  Obama met separately with Netanyahu and Abbas and later hosted a White House dinner for the Mideast leaders.