While the United States' Commander in Chief glad-handed with the some of the world's leaders on Tuesday at the United Nations in New York City, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed settlers to return to a Jewish house in Hebron in response to the fatal shooting of an Israeli soldier in the West Bank city by a Palestinian terrorist sniper. The shooting took place Sunday at a West Bank checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs, a holy site also known as the Machpelah.
In his statement, Netanyahu said that “those who try to uproot us from the City of the Patriarchs will achieve the opposite. We will continue to fight terrorism and strike at terrorists on the one hand and strengthen settlement with the other.”
Following President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and both men reaffirmed their commitment to work together towards a lasting peace in the Middle East, according to the Obama White House.
Before meeting with Abbas, Obama that the Palestinian's elected leader has "consistently rejected violence" and "has recognized the need for peace," according to the White House.
Obama said the United States "remains deeply committed to bringing about a just and lasting peace to a conflict that has been going on too long." "None of us are under any illusion that this would be easy," he noted.
While many members of the U.S. media gave the meeting and the words of Obama and Abbas serious consideration and coverage, several critics weren't so optimistic about Obama's and Abbas' words.
"I wish I had a dollar for each and every time a U.S. President, Vice President or Secretary of State said they and their Palestinian counterparts would work towards peace in the Middle East. I'd be retired and living with the other swells on Martha's Vineyard," said political strategist Mike Baker.
"While Islamic terrorists killed and maimed innocent people in Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and Kenya, they also killed or abducted Israeli soldiers guarding Israel's border," said Baker.
"We have to overcome several difficulties, but we realize that peace in the Middle East is not just important for the Palestinians and Israelis, it's important for the entire region and the world," said the Arab leader.
In his more than 40-minute speech before the UN General Assembly, Obama claimed that his and Secretary of State John Kerry's diplomatic efforts will focus primarily on stopping Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"While these issues are not the cause of all the region's problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace," Obama said.
According to the White House, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will visit Washington next week for a meeting with Obama at the White House.