Obama: Palestinians must work, too


BERLIN (JTA) — President Obama emphasized that he expects the Palestinians to live up to their commitments.

A day after his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Obama addressed what he said was the abundance of attention paid to his demands of Israel in advancing the peace process.

“What’s been interesting is that less attention has been focused on the insistence on my part that the Palestinians and the Arab states have to take very concrete actions,” Obama said in Germany before touring the Buchenwald concentration camp and Dresden, a city leveled by the Allies toward the end of World War II. “When it comes to the Palestinians, we know what they’re supposed to be doing. They have to continue to make progress on security in the West Bank. They have to deal with incitement issues.  There’s still a tendency, even within — among Palestinians who say they are interested in peace with Israel, to engage in statements that are — that incite a hatred of Israel or are not constructive to the peace process.”

Obama credited Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, with progress, “but not enough. We still have not seen a firm commitment from the Palestinian Authority that they can control some of the border areas that Israel is going to be very concerned about if there were to be a two-state solution. There are still problems of corruption and mismanagement within the Authority that have to be addressed.”

If the issues are not addressed, Obama said, “Israelis are going to have trouble moving forward."

Obama’s remarks implied a rebuke of Abbas who, after to his meeting with Obama last month, said that he will not fulfill his obligations until he Israel freezes settlement growth.

In his Cairo speech, Obama said he expected Israel to freeze West Bank settlement growth, facilitate movement for Palestinians and allow more humanitarian assistance to reach the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls.

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