US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday said that the next US administration can help bring peace to the Middle East, but only if the Israelis and Palestinians stop hindering such efforts.
Speaking at a campaign stop in Oregon, Obama said that "Israelis are going to have to acknowledge that some of the settlement policies make it very difficult to create a functioning Palestinian state."
Turning to the Palestinians, the Illinois senator said that the time had come to recognize Israel's right to exist and stop threatening violence.
Obama's remarks seemed to totally disregard Israel's full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, which most Israelis saw as a test case to determine just how the Palestinians would respond to the type of compromise Washington demands from them.
Israel's Gaza disengagement saw the full removal of Israeli military forces from the area and the uprooting of more than 20 Jewish settlements. The Palestinians responded by voting Hamas into power and significantly increasing rocket and missile attacks on southern Israel.