In a joint press availability in the Oval Office Tuesday morning, President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan suggested that work is afoot to have the Israeli and Palestinian governments make "gestures of good faith" to one another to kick-start the Middle East peace process.
"My hope would be that over the next several months, that you start seeing gestures of good faith on all sides," President Obama said. "I don’t want to get into the details of what those gestures might be, but I think that the parties in the region probably have a pretty good recognition of what intermediate steps could be taken as confidence-building measures."
Mr. Obama said the U.S. would "be doing everything we can to encourage those confidence-building measures to take place."
King Abdullah said his government was "seeing how we can sequence events over the next couple of months that allows Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and Arabs to sit around the table and move this process forward."
President Obama noted that, unlike newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he is "A strong supporter of a two-state solution. I have articulated that publicly and I will articulate that privately. And I think that there are a lot of Israelis who also believe in a two-state solution. Unfortunately, right now what we’ve seen not just in Israel but within the Palestinian Territories, among the Arab states, worldwide, is a profound cynicism about the possibility of any progress being made whatsoever."
He said that "generations of Palestinian and Israeli children are growing up insecure, in an atmosphere of hate."
"What we want to do is to step back from the abyss," the president said, "to say, as hard as it is, as difficult as it may be, the prospect of peace still exists — but it’s going to require some hard choices, it’s going to require resolution on the part of all the actors involved, and it’s going to require that we create some concrete steps that all parties can take that are evidence of that resolution."