In an exclusive interview with the London based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, US President Barack Obama said that he expects the new Israeli government to have a “genuine commitment to a two-state solution.”
Admitting that finding a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has a “very difficult path forward,” Obama said a resolution was high on the US’ list of priorities.
“I will never give up on the hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the United States will never stop working to realize that goal,” he said.
“We look to the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate — through policies and actions — a genuine commitment to a two-state solution.”
“Only then can trust be rebuilt and a cycle of escalation avoided,” he added.
Obama went onto talk about how the devastation resulting from Israel’s summer offensive in Gaza needs to be “central to any effort” made by the Israeli government.
“Ultimately, the parties will need to address not just Gaza’s immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs, but also core challenges to Gaza’s future within a two-state context, including reinvigorating Gaza’s connection with the West Bank and reestablishing strong commercial links with Israel and the global economy,” he said.
Israel launched an offensive lasting nearly two months against the Gaza Strip last summer killing over 2,100 and wounding nearly 11,000 most of which were civilians.
The attack on Gaza left many in the enclave without homes, food, power, clean water and schools as hospitals were also unable to function for weeks during and after the offensive.
Obama’s remarks came as the International Criminal Court (ICC) warned Israel on Tuesday to cooperate in its examination into war crimes resulting by Israel during the summer attack.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the Associated Press that the ICC would be forced to act solely off Palestinian testimony if Israel did not comply with prosecutors.
"If I don't have the information that I'm requesting I will be forced to find it from elsewhere, or I may perhaps be forced to just go with just one side of the story. That is why I think it's in the best interest of both sides to provide my office with information,” she said.
Palestine joined the ICC on April 1 in a move described by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “scandalous,” as Israel responded to Palestine’s membership by freezing bank accounts owned by the Palestinian government.
Her statements came just two weeks after a group of Israeli soldiers told ‘Breaking The Silence’, an advocacy group aimed at exposing wrongdoing by the Israeli Defence Forces, that they had been attacked by Palestinians with indiscriminate fire killing civilians with direct knowledge or request from their supervisors.