Abbas meets Obama in Washington

"The tense situation in the Middle East is unsustainable."

obama pointing 311 (photo credit: AP)
obama pointing 311
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON - The tense situation in the Middle East is "unsustainable" and a better approach is needed in Gaza said US President Barack Obama on Wednesday after meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Obama also predicted "real progress" in coming months in US efforts to nudge the Israelis and Palestinians toward direct peace talks, if both sides commit. Obama said both sides want a peaceful solution.
"Both sides have to create an environment, a climate that will be conducive to an actual breakthrough," the US president said.
Obama reiterated that that means the Israelis must curb settlement construction in disputed territories and that the Palestinians must make progress on security, among other issues.
Obama said the US is fully committed to seeing the effort through.
"We will continue to work side by side with you as well as the Israelis," Obama said to Abbas.
The meeting came little more than a week after Israel's May 31 raid on a flotilla hoping to break the blockade turned deadly. Nine men in the flotilla were killed, including eight Turks and a Turkish American.
Israel says its soldiers opened fire only after they were set upon by a mob of pro-Palestinian activists. The activists and their supporters blame Israel, saying its commandos began shooting unnecessarily.
Obama said the incident was a "tragedy" and that a "better approach" is needed in Gaza. He called for a "new conceptual framework" for Israel's three-year-old blockade of Gaza.
"It's important that we get all the facts," he said. "What we also know is that the situation in Gaza is unsustainable."