Palestinian officials urge Obama to push for peace
In this July 6, 2010, file photo, US President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they walk to Netanyahu's car outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Palestinian officials said on Thursday they hope Mr Obama's upcoming visit to the region signals readiness to re-engage in Mideast peace efforts, but that negotiations can only resume if Washington is ready to get tough with Israel. -- PHOTO: AP
RAMALLAH (AP) - Palestinian officials said on Thursday they hope President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to the region signals readiness to re-engage in Mideast peace efforts, but that negotiations can only resume if Washington is ready to get tough with Israel.
The Palestinians have long been anxious for the United States to revive serious talks with Israel. Their expectations were dampened following a White House statement that Mr Obama will not pursue any new peace initiatives on his visit, expected in late March.
Jibril Rajoub, a former Palestinian security chief and prominent West Bank official, told Israel's Army Radio that Washington is the only one that can "build a bridge of trust" between the two sides.
"If there is anyone who can press the Israelis to change their attitude, it's the American president," Mr Rajoub, speaking Hebrew, said on Thursday. "I see his visit as important. We all need it. I hope something will come of it."