Obama dedicates himself to two-state solution

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff  

US President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday phoned Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to affirm his dedication to push through an Israeli-Palestinian final status peace agreement during his time in office.

A statement released by the Palestinian Authority said that "Obama promised that he'll continue efforts to push the peace process forward in order to arrive at a two-state solution."

Depending on who wins Israel's upcoming general election, that could put Obama at odds with Israel's next leader.

Opposition and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who polls show will be Israel's next prime minister, has promised to halt the land-for-peace process, and instead focus on helping average Palestinians improve their quality of life as the first step in a long-term peace process.

Meanwhile, Obama's top advisor on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Dennis Ross, told The Jerusalem Post this week that a report in London's Sunday Times alleging that the president-elect had endorsed the Saudi peace plan was false.

The Sunday Times story claimed that during his visit to the region last summer, Obama told Palestinian leaders that the Saudi plan was a great deal for Israel and that Israeli leaders would be "crazy" not to accept it.

But Ross, who was at the meeting, insisted that Obama said no such thing.

The Saudi plan demands a full Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, the eastern half of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in return for the promise of future recognition by its neighbors.

The Palestinian Authority reportedly plans to put full-page ads in Israeli newspapers starting this week to convince average Israelis that the Saudi plan is the best path to peace.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is being aided in this effort by Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli-Arab lawmaker and former aide to Yasser Arafat, who will translate the ads into Hebrew.

Tibi said he believes the Israeli public is at present only receiving misinformation regarding the Saudi plan, and that if presented in the right way, most Israelis will support the initiative.

It will be the first time that the Palestinian Authority has bought ad space in Israeli newspapers.

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