Obama Avoids Freeze

PM's meeting with Obama ends, leaders head for lunch. Obama did not answer when asked if he wanted extension of Judea and Samaria freeze.

Tags: Obama
Gil Ronen , | updated: 8:46 PM

Netanyahu and Obama
Netanyahu and Obama
Israel news file photo
United States President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ended their first meeting in the White House Tuesday and faced reporters before heading off for a joint working lunch.

Obama was asked if he wanted Netanyahu to extend the ten-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria that is to end in late September. He did not answer, and instead, praised Israel for showing “restraint” on the matter of “settlements,” as the Jewish communities in the biblical heartland are often referred to. This restraint, he said, has created more opportunity for direct talks. 

Obama said that he hopes face-to-face negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will resume before the freeze expires. He also said the bond between the U.S.and Israel is "unbreakable" and hailed the easing of the IDF blockade on Gaza as “real progress.”

Netanyahu told the press that while he is committed to peace, “we do not want to go back to the story with Gaza. We want to make sure that after we achieve peace there will be security as well.” He said reports of unfriendly relations between the United States and Israel was are "flat wrong."