JERUSALEM (CBSNewYork) — On the second day of his visit to the Middle East, President Barack Obama was greeted by the president of the Palestinian Authority, and rockets were fired by militants into a southern Israeli town.
The president was nowhere near where the small rockets landed, but they underscored the deep rifts in this part of the world that during his four years in office Obama hasn’t made any progress on, CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported.
Obama said he came to Ramallah on the West Bank on Thursday to listen to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and to assure him that America is still committed to a two-state solution.
“The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the indignities that come with it,” Obama said.
Outside, demonstrators said the president has done little more than talk about those indignities.
On Wednesday, Obama was listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and assuring the Israelis that they do, in fact, have a loyal friend in the White House who has their backs, especially on the issue of a nuclear-armed Iran.
“All options are on the table. We will do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from getting the world’s worst weapons,” Obama said.
For the first time, Netanyahu accepted Obama’s timeline for Iran to produce a nuclear bomb — one year. But there’s still disagreement about the pace of Iran’s enrichment of uranium. Israel wants to stop Iran before it’s so close to making a bomb military action might be too late.
“There’s not a lot of time and every day that passes, diminishes it, but we do have a common assessment on these schedules on intelligence,” Netanyahu said.
Relations between the two leaders have been frosty in the past, but this visit appears to have warmed things.
Earlier Thursday, the president viewed the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem and toured a technology exhibit at the Israel museum.
U.S. officials said the purpose of this visit isn’t to try and broker a peace deal, rather the president hopes to improve relations and security in the region.
There are some signs, however, that the Palestinians are open to resuming the stalled peace talks.
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