TEL AVIV, Israel, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama called for young Israelis to pressure their leaders and "create the change that [they] want to see," telling them "peace is possible" through a two-state solution in his speech at the Jerusalem International Conference Center on Thursday.
"Negotiations will be necessary, but there's little secret about where they must lead: two states for two peoples," Obama said, but "[p]olitical leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks."
Just outside the Conference Center, dozens of OneVoice Israel's (OVI) youth leaders approached Israeli citizens on the streets of Jerusalem and collected hundreds of commitments to end the conflict on a giant "treaty" poster.OneVoice empowers the grassroots to connect with their elected leaders on the ground in Israel and Palestine every day. Since 2002, OneVoice has championed an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a grassroots push for the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders after ending the occupation and solving all final status issues in accordance with international law and previous bilateral agreements. The president noted the difficulties each side has faced during the ongoing conflict. "I know Israel has taken risks for peace," Obama said of Israeli efforts for peace. "Brave leaders -- Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin -- reached treaties with two of your neighbors. You made credible proposals to the Palestinians at Annapolis. You withdrew from Gaza and Lebanon and then faced terror and rockets. Across the region, you've extended a hand of friendship, and all too often you've been confronted with rejection." Additionally, President Obama noted the difficulties the Palestinian people face.