In an interview with NPR, President Obama insisted that the United States will maintain a special relationship with Israel and expressed understanding for Israeli concerns about security. But the president also said it’s time for Washington to be more "honest" with Jerusalem on certain issues.
"We do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace," Obama said. "And that’s going to require, from my view, a two-state solution."
It will also require, he said, a freeze on Israeli settlements, including expansion to accommodate successive generations of settlers, and for Palestinians to make progress on security and end "the incitement that understandably makes Israelis so concerned."
The president also suggested that the United States’ special relationship with Israel requires some tough love. "Part of being a good friend is being honest," Obama said. "And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests. And that’s part of a new dialogue that I’d like to see encouraged in the region."