Answering questions, Obama says everyone knows what is necessary for peace, but has trouble acknowledging the compromises that will be necessary.
“If we can get direct negotiations started again, I believe the shape of a potential deal is there,” he says.
He says he has “been clear” with Netanyahu that US policy has long been that settlement activity is not “constructive” or “appropriate,” or “something that can advance the cause of peace.”
He says, however, that Israeli politics are “complex,” and that this is “not an issue that will be solved overnight.”
In what marks his most significant comment so far, Obama suggests Palestinians cannot expect to have Israelis agree to their conditions before talks start. This appears to be a change from the US and Palestinian demand during the first Obama administration that Israel freeze settlement construction as a precondition for talks.