Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that direct negotiation was the only way to achieve a stable Middle East peace, and that the Palestinian effort to secure UN recognition of statehood "will not succeed."
Netanyahu thanked Obama for endorsing direct talks with Palestinians and speaking out against any UN bid to declare a Palestinian state.
Furthermore, Netanyahu said that the Palestinians' refusal to enter negotiations harms Israel, the Palestinians, and peace efforts, stressing that that there are no short cuts.
Netanyahu made the remarks at a meeting with President Barack Obama, who reiterated the unwavering U.S. commitment to Israel and said efforts to impose peace on Israel and the Palestinians would not work.
Earlier Wednesday, Obama addressed the UN General Assembly and urged Israel and the Palestinians to renew negotiations, stressing that the Palestinians' cannot achieve statehood through UN resolutions.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman congratulated Obama's UN speech, and praised him for not stating that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should be based on 1967 borders.
“I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands,” said Lieberman during a post-speech press conference.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) also responded to Obama's speech, saying that Obama was right to demand a return to negotiations and emphasizing that UN speeches will not "change a thing."
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