Emanuel: Israel, Palestinians must take advantage of ‘unique moment’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rahm Emanuel said Israeli and Palestinian leaders must take advantage of a "unique moment" for making peace.

In an interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose Show on Thursday, the White House chief of staff said both sides must "put aside the negotiations about the negotiations and begin their negotiations," and "you can’t start as if there hasn’t been a process."

Emanuel, according to Ha’aretz, said Tuesday’s trilateral meeting between President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was important because Obama challenged the other two leaders publicly — "which means they now have to go home and face the people that they represent about the opportunities of peace versus the risk of not taking action."

Emanuel also noted that Obama said "he is willing to challenge the Israeli government and friends when he thinks they’re wrong," such as on settlements, "in a public way as well as in private" so that both sides trust the president to be an honest broker.

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