By Geneva Sands - 03/21/13 02:30 PM EDT
"The United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine," Obama said at the press conference. "The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it."
The president also strongly condemned an overnight rocket attack from Hamas that hit the Israeli town of Sderot. The attack did not cause any damage or injuries, but effectively ended an eight-day cease-fire in the region.
Obama is on a four-day trip to Israel, his first visit to the country as president and the first foreign travel of his second term. Obama vowed an “eternal” alliance with Israel, upon arriving in the country.
“We stand together because peace must come to the Holy Land,” Obama said in remarks, shortly after landing at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday. “Even though we are clear-eyed about the difficulties, we must never lose sight of the vision of an Israel at peace with its neighbors.”
Yesterday the president held a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where he cautiously addressed the issue of whether Syria had crossed a so-called “red line” that would provoke U.S. military action dominated.
“I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer,” Obama said as Netanyahu looked on. “And I won’t make an announcement today about next steps because I think we have to gather the facts.”
Later on Thursday Obama will meet with U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv and U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem staff, and in the evening he will attend a dinner hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.