WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama said in an appeal published in an Israeli newspaper that he remains committed to brokering a “necessary” Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“Peace is necessary because it’s the only way to ensure a secure and democratic future for the Jewish state of Israel,” Obama wrote in an article published Tuesday by Haaretz and appearing as Israel launched an operation to repel escalating rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
“While walls and missile defense systems can help protect against some threats, true safety will only come with a comprehensive negotiated settlement,” he said. “Reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians would also help turn the tide of international sentiment and sideline violent extremists, further bolstering Israel’s security.”
Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, said after peace talks collapsed in April that it was up to the sides to renew them, but Obama in his Haaretz article made clear he was as committed as ever to brokering an agreement.
“When the political will exists to recommit to serious negotiations, the United States will be there, ready to do our part,” he said.
Obama also paid tribute to three Israeli and one Palestinian youths murdered in recent violence.
“As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain endured by the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered in June,” he said.
“I am also heartbroken by the senseless abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose life was stolen from him and his family,” Obama said. “At this dangerous moment, all parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution.”