Obama to Israelis: Put Yourself in Palestine's Shoes

It's 'not fair' that their kids can't grow up in their own state, he says
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2013 12:12 PM CDT
President Obama pauses during his speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center Thursday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Obama gave a well-received speech to Israeli college students today in which he pressed them to challenge their political leaders to bring about peace, reports CNN. "You must create the change that you want to see," he said, adding that having a Palestinian state and an Israeli state existing side by side is the only way to achieve long-term security. In a quote that's getting attention, he asked the Israelis to have some empathy for Palestinians:

  • "Put yourself in their shoes—look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day."

The crowd "cheered repeatedly" during the address, reports the Wall Street Journal, which also notes that Obama wasn't offering any new proposals to restart peace talks on this trip. At the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg called it a "strong" speech likely to be a "pleasant surprise" to Palestinians. Obama "was a bit more blunt than I thought," he adds. "I was sitting near the head of the settlers' council, who seemed ready to explode with anger." The Jerusalem Post has the full text of the speech. (Click to see the president handle a heckler.)

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