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Israel's occupation of West Bank must end: Obama

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US President Barack Obama (L) speaks alongside acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas (R) at the Muqata, the Palestinian Authority headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 21, 2013.

US President Barack Obama has said that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank must end, adding that Palestinians deserve an independent and sovereign state.

Obama also said he is “deeply committed” to the creation of a state of Palestine and that it remains a priority for his administration.

“Palestinians deserve a state of their own. The United States is deeply committed to seeing… an independent, sovereign state of Palestine,” Obama said at news conference after talks with acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday on his second day of a Mideast trip and after meeting Israeli officials.

He said Palestinians deserve to have hope and to have their rights respected.

The US president also described the two-state solution as the only way to end the decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict. He also criticized the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian, describing it as obstacle to the so-called peace talks.

His remarks come a day after he vowed unwavering support for Israel and declared that the alliance between Washington and Tel Aviv “is eternal”.

Palestinians have held several protests against Obama’s visit to the occupied West Bank over the past few days, saying he is not doing enough to stop Israel’s settlement activities and the arbitrary arrest of Palestinians by Israeli troops.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Palestinian activists erected some 15 tents on the controversial E1 area near Jerusalem where Tel Aviv intends to build thousands of illegal settler homes.

“Our message today to Obama is… this is our land and we are opposed to settlements and occupation which are backed by the US administration,” Abu Rahma, one of the organizers, told AFP.


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