Today's announcement that Israel and the Palestinians will begin direct talks is a welcome development. Progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations has always only resulted from direct face-to-face negotiations.
The Government of Israel has made clear its commitment to a negotiated agreement, and has made numerous gestures to the Palestinians in order to bring them to the table, including the current freeze on settlement expansion.
We wish the parties well as they embark on these negotiations. Certainly, no one is under the illusion these talks will be easy or that success is guaranteed. Both sides will need to make difficult and painful compromises in order to realize the hopes for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. There continue to be those who wish to undermine this development through the use of violence, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others, and it will be up to the international community to ensure this doesn't happen.
We express our appreciation to the Obama Administration for its tireless efforts in facilitating the beginning of these talks.