Obama expressed concern to Netanyahu over Israeli-Palestinian peace

Obama expressed concern to Netanyahu over Israeli-Palestinian peacePresident Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday he had concerns about Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and hoped the United States could still help to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace, Reuters reported.

"Clearly there is great danger of not just terrorism but also flare-ups of violence," Obama said at the start of what was likely to be his last meeting as president with Netanyahu. Obama leaves office in January.

"We do have concerns around settlement activity as well. And our hope is that we can continue to be an effective partner with Israel in finding a path to peace," Obama told reporters as the two leaders met on the sidelines of the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders.

Netanyahu, who has had a rocky relationship with Obama, said he appreciated their many talks about challenges facing Israel. Netanyahu has led Israel for all but about the first two months of Obama's nearly eight years in office.

"The greatest challenge is of course the unremitting fanaticism. The greatest opportunity is to advance ... peace. That's a goal that I and the people of Israel will never give up on," Netanyahu said.

"We've been fortunate that in pursuing these two tasks, Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America," he added.

Obama also made reference to a $38 billion military assistance agreement signed by the two allies on September 14.

"It is a very difficult and dangerous time in the Middle East, and we want to make sure that Israel has the full capabilities it needs in order to keep the Israeli people safe," Obama said.
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