Obama: Time right for Israel, Turkey reconciliation

US President: PM "agreed moment was right" to restore ties; ADL: Important model for relations between Muslim nation and Israel.

Obama, Abdullah sit together March 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed )
Obama, Abdullah sit together March 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed )
"I have long said that it is in the interest of Israel and Turkey to restore normal relations between two countries that have historically had good ties," US President Barack Obama said on Friday.
In a joint press conference with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman, Obama said that during his visit in Israel, it appeared that the timing was good for brokering reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "agreed the 'moment was right' for reconciliation."
Obama added that the reconciliation is still a work in progress that is "just beginning."
"There will still be significant disagreements, not just on the Palestinian question but on a range of different issues," Obama stated, but added that the two countries have a "shared interest and have been extraordinarily strong partners in the past."
Meanwhile, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) congratulated Netanyahu on Friday for the phone call between him and Prime Minister Recep Erdogan of Turkey, in which he apologized for a 2010 incident involving a Turkish Gaza-bound flotilla.
ADL National Director Abe Foxman applauded the "restoration of relations" between two of "America's most reliable allies in the region," and thanked US President Barack Obama for his "direct facilitation" of the reconciliation, during his visit to Israel.
"The long friendship and mutual cooperation between Israel and Turkey has been beneficial for both countries and an important model for partnership between Muslim nations in the region and Israel," added Foxman.
Obama also addressed the potential reopening of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine on Friday in Amman, saying the "window of opportunity still exists, but is getting more and more difficult."
Obama stated that during his trip to Israel and the West Bank he sought to listen first, "to find the road-blocks against progress." Only then, he stated, can the US discuss with the relevant parties how to remove the roadblocks and achieve concrete results.
He said the US cannot guarantee peace, only that they will strive to make the effort towards it.
"Peace will not be achieved until the parties themselves want peace. All of us share this frustration," Obama stated. "Israeli people are frustrated that this problem is not solved, they don't enjoy the isolation. The Palestinian people certainly feel this frustration, as young people grow up unable to do basic things that free people should do, simple things, like travel, or privacy in their own homes."
"Part of the tragedy is that neither side can get what they want, but it's impossible to break out of the patterns of a difficult history," he said.
Obama said he hoped that after his three-day trip, the US can explore mechanisms to sit down together and explore new methods. "If it gets done in a timely way, the Israeli people will be safer, and the Palestinians will be freer. As a consequence, the whole region will be strengthened and the world will be safer," Obama stated.
In response, Jordanian King Abdullah II said that "Jordan's role as facilitator to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together may help to have a framework for peace in next weeks or months."
The king said that Jordan will host and provide support for both the Israelis and Palestinians in the run up to potential peace negotiations.
"The window of opportunity is still open to re-galvanize effort" for peace, the king stated.
Commenting on the Syria crisis, for which is said to be top of the agenda during the meeting between the king and president, Obama said that Assad has "lost all legitimacy," and that his fall was not a question of "if, but when.""Something has been broken in Syria, and it won't be put back together perfectly immediately, even after Assad," Obama said.
Obama pledged to give $200 million to Jordan in aid of the crisis. Abdullah responded to say he would refuse to close Jordan's borders to Syrian refugees.
"We haven't led with words, but with deeds," Obama said. "We have worked diligently to help organize and mobilize political opposition. This is critical; in it's absence, it would be impossible to transition to a legitimate government," he said.