Breaking off from his prepared text, he said that he recently met with a group of young Palestinians.
"Talking to them, they weren't that different from my daughters, they
weren't that different from your daughters or sons," he said.
honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with these kids,
they'd say, 'I want these kids to succeed, I want them to prosper, I
want them to have opportunities just like my kids do,'" he added to
That state had to be "viable" with real borders, he said, criticizing the building of settlements in the West Bank.
President Obama receives applause from a crowd in Jerusalem Thursday by challenging groups that reject Israel.
urged ordinary Israelis to put pressure on their leaders to achieve a
future in which Jews, Christians and Muslims could live in peace.
also know that not everyone in this hall will agree with what I have to
say about peace. I recognize that there are those who are not simply
skeptical about peace, but question its underlying premise, have a
different vision for Israel's future and that's a part of democracy and
the discourse between our two countries," he said.
necessary, I believe that. I believe that peace is the only path to true
security. You have the opportunity to be the generation that
permanently secures the Zionist dream, or you can face a growing
challenge to its future," he added.
Barack Obama shakes hands with Israel's President Shimon Peres after
Obama was presented with the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel's
highest civilian honor, during an official state dinner in Jerusalem on
At a state dinner in Jerusalem Thursday
evening, Israel's President Shimon Peres awarded Obama with Israel's
highest honor — the Presidential Medal of Distinction — emphasizing what
Peres called his "unforgettable contribution" to the security of
U.S. support for the Iron Dome missile defense system had been instrumental in saving Israeli lives, Peres said.
Obama sat at the dais with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his
wife Sara before a room full of Israeli dignitaries, Peres called out
the U.S. president's "tireless work to make Israel strong to make peace
Peres said he was "convinced" the United States "will do whatever is necessary on the Iranian threat."
Obama said he was accepting the award "on behalf of the American people."
Israel must avoid 'isolation' In
his address at the convention center Obama stressed that America would
always support Israel, echoing his comments Wednesday that the U.S. was
Israel's "eternal" ally.
But he said peace had to be made between "peoples" and could not be achieved through military hardware alone.
the frustration in the international community, Israel must reverse an
undertow of isolation. And given the march of technology, the only way
to truly protect the Israeli people over the long term is through the
absence of war — because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is
strong enough and perfect enough, to stop every enemy that's intent on
doing so from inflicting harm," he added.
was a warm, official welcome for President Obama in Ramallah. In the
streets, away from the Palestinian government compound, street
demonstrations. NBC's Martin Fletcher reports.
Obama said Israel could not be expected to negotiate with anyone "dedicated to its destruction."
he said he believed that Israelis had a "true partner" in Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas, along with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. On a
visit to the West Bank earlier Thursday, Obama condemned the Palestinian
Hamas party, which holds sway in the Gaza Strip and is a rival to
Abbas' Fatah movement.
Barack Obama embraces Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
upon his arrival at the presidential compound in the West Bank city of
Ramallah on Thursday.
"So many young Palestinians
have rejected violence. There's an opportunity there. There's a window,"
he said. "Peace is possible."
At one point in the speech, someone
in the audience began heckling Obama, who peered toward the back of the
hall to try to see what was happening.
"This is part of the lively debate we talked about," he said, referencing a line earlier in his speech. "This is good."
joked about media reports that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu do not
get along. It was just a "plot" between him and "my friend Bibi" to give
journalists something to write about, he suggested.
After his helicopter touched down in Ramallah, Obama was greeted cordially by Abbas and the two hugged.
cannot give up on the search for peace, no matter how hard it is. ...
Too much is at stake," the president said during a joint news
Barack responds to a heckler in the crowd during his speech Thursday to
the Israeli people at the Jerusalem Convention Center .
'Misery' of Hamas He sounded hopeful about Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and reiterated U.S. willingness to help.
United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and
sovereign state of Palestine," he said, adding, "Simply, Palestinians
deserve a state of their own."
When asked whether he thought a
halt to further settlement activity was required before peace talks
could begin in earnest, Obama demurred.
"If the only way to even
begin the conversation is that we get everything right from the outset …
then we're never going to get to the broader issue, which is how you
actually structure a state of Palestine that is sovereign and
contiguous," the president said.
"The core issue right now is how
do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and ensure security for
the Israeli people," he added. "If we solve those two problems, the
settlement problem will be solved."
The president praised Abbas
for his leadership and sharply criticized rival group Hamas for the
"misery" of Palestinians in Gaza.
For his part, Abbas said he had "renewed confidence" in U.S. assistance with the peace process after meeting with Obama.
"We have conducted a good and useful round of talks," he said through an interpreter.
Abbas called for an end to Israeli construction of settlements in Palestinian territories.
warned that continued building of the sites was causing Palestinians,
particularly the younger generation, to lose hope that Israel and a
sovereign Palestine could peacefully co-exist.
Palestinians see the settlements, he said, "they do not trust the
two-state solution anymore, and this is very dangerous" for the future.
Two rockets that
may have been a show of protest were fired into southern Israel close
to the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip early Thursday.
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:54 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:54:06 GMT
(KCEN) -- Starting Monday you may see more cops on Central Texas roads looking for people not wearing seat belts. The 12th Annual Click It or Ticket will go on until June 2nd. Police will also be makingMore >>
Starting Monday you may see more cops on Central Texas roads looking for people not wearing seat belts.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:53 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:53:32 GMT
(KCEN) -- A major accident backed up traffic for hours on both north and south bound sides of I-35. It happened in Troy right near Exit 308.Troy Fire Department says five cars were involved in total.More >>
A major accident up traffic for hours on both north and south bound sides of I-35.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:31 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:31:51 GMT
(KCEN) -- Today was the first day residents were allowed to return to their neighborhood in a North Texas town torn apart by a tornado last Wednesday. David Velasquez and family head out to their mostlyMore >>
Today was the first day residents were allowed to return to their neighborhood in a North Texas town torn apart by a tornado last Wednesday.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:18:59 GMT
5(KCEN) -- Walking for a cure that's what many victims and supporters of arthritis did in Harker Heights today. It's a national movement that encourages people to move to prevent or treat arthritis. TheMore >>
Walking for a cure that's what many victims and supporters of arthritis did in Harker Heights today.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 5:28 PM EDT2013-05-18 21:28:06 GMT
(KCEN) -- With the Powerball Jackpot reaching record levels, even people who don't normally play the lottery are taking an interest.The lines just kept growing across the nation.As eager players take theirMore >>
With the Powerball Jackpot reaching record levels, even people who don't normally play the lottery are taking an interest.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:05 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:05:34 GMT
(KCEN) -- Your help is needed finding a woman cops believe stole a credit card and used it in Killeen. Cops responded to a car burglary in Killeen back in February where the owner said his wallet wasMore >>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:35 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:35:26 GMT
(KCEN) -- If you're hitting the road this weekend, get ready to pay more for gas. Gas prices have shot up for the second week in a row now. In Waco, the average gallon is $3.40. You'll be paying theMore >>
If you're hitting the road this weekend, get ready to pay more for gas.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:29 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:29:22 GMT
(KCEN) -- Ed Graf Jr. had his hearing today to decide if they want to retry him on charges of murder or capital murder based on other evidence. The State announced that it would retry Graf and that itMore >>
Ed Graf Jr. had his hearing today to decide if they want to retry him on charges of murder or capital murder based on other evidence.More >>