(JTA) — The achievement of the Palestinians’ “legitimate aspirations” will make the Middle East more peaceful and prosperous, President Obama said in his message for Israel’s Independence Day.
“This is a period of profound change in the Middle East and North Africa, as people across the region courageously pursue the path of dignity and self-governance,” Obama said in his message released Monday evening. “Just as I know that Israel will always be one of our closest allies, I believe that the region can be more peaceful and prosperous when its people are able to fulfill their legitimate aspirations.”
Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week before Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on May 24.
Obama wants Israel to press forward with peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, but Netanyahu has signaled that he is not interested as long as the PA remains reconciled with the Hamas terrorist group.
Obama underscored the close Israel-U.S. relationship in his message and predicted it would deepen.
"Our two nations share a unique and unbreakable bond of friendship that is anchored in common interests and shared values, and the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security," he said.
Separately, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the GOP’s conservative caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, also issued Israel Independence Day greetings.
"As a sovereign nation surrounded by enemies who have vowed to destroy her, Israel has faced enormous challenges in its struggle for freedom and peace," he said. "The continued strength of this great nation testifies to the Israelis’ stout hearts from ancient times to the present."