TODAY | September 02, 2010
NATALIE MORALES, anchor: And for the first time in nearly two years, Israeli and Palestinian leaders are meeting face-to-face, holding direct talks in Washington on the future of Mideast peace. NBC 's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is at the State Department in Washington . Andrea , good morning.
ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Good morning, Natalie . Well, the president tried to make sure that these talks didn't end before they even got under way, after new violence erupted in the West Bank just as President Obama was calling for peace. The president said he could create the environment, but not the solution, bringing both sides to the White House for dinner.
President BARACK OBAMA: When we come together, we will not be alone. We'll be joined by the generations.
MITCHELL: But peace is far from breaking out in the Middle East . Funerals Wednesday for four Israeli settlers gunned down in the West Bank . Hamas , the militant Palestinian faction running Gaza , claimed responsibility. Then settlers tried to burn down a Palestinian home in revenge. Israeli soldiers stopped them. And two more Israelis were shot and wounded, all this threatening to sabotage today's talks.
Pres. OBAMA: If both sides do not commit to these talks in earnest then the long-standing conflict will only continue to fester and consume another generation.
MITCHELL: Secretary of State Clinton has given the adversaries one year to reach an agreement, but others have tried before. From Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush , no president has been able to resolve thorny issues like how to divide Jerusalem , claimed by both sides as their capital; millions of Palestinian refugees demanding the right of return; Israeli settlements and final borders between Israel and Palestinian state . Above all else, security. The most immediate hurdle is Israeli plans to resume construction on those settlements on Palestinian land by the end of this month. But for now, the US sees progress just in getting both sides in the same room. Natalie :
MORALES: Andrea Mitchell at the State Department for us this morning. Thank you, Andrea .