US President Barack Obama said Thursday that he's working to get theIsraelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.
At a town hall meeting in Tampa, Obama declinedunder questioning to condemn for actions against the Palestinians. He said is a strong ally and thathe will never waver from helping keep its people safe in a hostile Middle East.
But Obamaalso said the situation facing the Palestinian people is one that needsattention. He said he is seeking a solution in which Israelis and Palestinianscan live side by side in peace. But both parties must return to the bargainingtable, and that is something Obama said he isworking to achieve.
The administration's efforts tojump start peace talks have stalled since Obama took office a year ago.
The president on Thursday blamed internal political strife in as wellas among the Palestinians for hampering the peace process.
He spoke of problems that PrimeMinister Binyamin Netanyahu had had to deal with within his own governingcoalition, saying that the premier "is making efforts to move a little bitfurther than his coalition wants to go."Obama said that while Palestinian Authority PresidentMahmoud Abbas genuinely desires peace, he has had to deal with the terroristgroup Hamas, whose power and grip on the Gaza Strip has only grown in recentyears.While Obama referred to as "one of our strongest allies," he also stated that the plight ofthe Palestinians is something that cannot be ignored. Obama went on to say thatit is not good for 'ssecurity to have millions of individuals feeling hopeless.